Sometimes a phrasal verb has an object. If the object is a pronoun (it/them/me/him etc.), only one position is possible. We have to put the object beetween the verb and the preposition.

For example: I'm going to take them off. (not take off them)

But some phrasal verbs confuse me.

For example: In dictionaries they say live off sb/sth not live sb/sth off

For example: The families are happy to live off them and use the money they earn (Why isn't it "live them off" ?

  • Does it make more sense when you read it as: ...to live off (of) them...?
    – Davo
    Apr 9, 2019 at 14:34
  • One general constraint on the order 'particle + object' is that it is inadmissible if the object if the object has form of an unstressed personal pronoun, but otherwise it's fine, cf."I'm going to take my gloves off" ~ I'm going to take off my gloves" is OK.
    – BillJ
    Apr 9, 2019 at 15:45

3 Answers 3


I think the other answers have missed the fact that "to take" is a transitive verb here and therefore requires a direct object.

"to live" is an intransitive verb and cannot have a direct object - it may have an indirect object. On the other hand ,"to live off" is transitive and needs a direct object.

I can take something but I can't live something. I can (live off) something.

  • Hmm this really makes sense, thank you. Apr 9, 2019 at 17:55

Because they're living off that person. That person they're living off of is the source of whatever they need to keep living.

For instance, You can't say:

"I'm living my father off".

If he's paying for your stuff and giving you food, he is the source. You're living OFF your father. You're taking something FROM your father.


The families are going to live off of X.

Off of X answers the question "How are the families going to live?" Because of that, off of x has to be inseparable.

I'm going to take the gloves off.

Off doesn't participate in answering a how question here, so it can move around.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .