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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 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 at 15:45
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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. – Talha Özden Apr 9 at 17:55
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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.

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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.

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