Exist a phenomenon regarding when two words I know the definition when are conjugated means something utterly different, does exist a code that I do not understand native English speakers use to understand word conjugations like "given over" in this context?

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I know what means given and over but the combination of the two doesn't click in my head until I search the definition.

Give = grant the right to someone to possess something and have it

Over = at the top

Give over = to set apart for a particular purpose or use

Do I really need to remember each meaning conjugation?

  • 3
    Over has far more senses than you've indicated in the question. One sense that's relevant here is "1 f: from one person or side to another // hand it over." (Give also has many more senses than you've indicated.) Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 0:59
  • @Jason Bassford so is lack of vocabulary? That's why I can not understand the meaning of given over?
    – Juan
    Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 1:55
  • Lots of learners have this problem. I believe this is related/relevant: Fall vs Fall down.
    – Em.
    Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 2:53
  • @PabloRamosEscalona Note, too, that there isn't only a single sense of give over: (1) I gave over my keys for safe keeping. (2) I gave myself over to the Dark Side. (3) "Give over, guv! Stop pulling my leg." Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 5:51
  • 2
    As a side note, conjugation in English refers to the inflection of a verb reflecting its tense, number, and other functions, e.g. give, gave, given or remember, remembered, remembered. An occurrence of a word with another word is a collocation, but there is no specific term for the change in meaning when a verb is collocated with certain prepositions; these are simply verb-preposition pairs or verb-preposition combinations or the like.
    – choster
    Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 13:45

2 Answers 2


English has many phrasal verbs, consisting of a verb plus a preposition or adverb.

While there are some patterns to them (for example, many phrasal verbs containing up have a sense of completing something) generally they need to be learnt individually. A good dictionary will list them.

So, the answer is, Yes, you do need to learn them.

Note that give over in the sense of "devote" is rare in the active: it is nearly always in the passive given over.

Note also that Exist a phenomenon is not English. The English for that is Does there exist a phenomenon, or Does a phenomenon exist, or, most likely, Is there a phenomenon.


It is not quite as bad as you think. Only some conjunctions of verb and preposition have a meaning distinct from the meanings of the words separately. But those specific combinations you must learn; there is no code.

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