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  1. Taxi driver: I picked up this guy at the airport and drove him to a hotel.

  2. Taxi driver: I picked this guy up at the airport and drove him to a hotel.

Note: The "guy" that is mentioned is not present when the sentence is said.

Which one of the sentences is more natural?

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Both sentences are fine, but I would use the first sentence if "the guy" in question has not been previously mentioned. Perhaps this is personal preference, but if I were telling a story as the taxi driver is doing here, I would introduce it with

So I picked up this guy at the airport and drove him to a hotel; he was really tall and had super long hair that went down to his shoulders. He had some sort of weird briefcase in his hand...

If instead, you describe the guy first and then say you drove him to a hotel, I would say

So I pull up to the airport and I see this really tall man with super long hair, and he had some sort of weird briefcase in his hand. So I picked this guy up at the airport and drove him to a hotel...

Maybe others will have a differing view. You could definitely use either sentence in the conversation and there wouldn't be any problem.

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    As long as you use a noun (like this guy) as the object of a phrasal verb l(ike pick up), you can arrange them either way. But if you use a pronoun (like him), it has to go between the verb part and the particle. That is, I picked him up at the airport is fine, but not *I picked up him at the airport, which no native speaker would say. Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 18:53
  • @JohnLawler Yes, this is a great point. Thank you for the clarification.
    – Kman3
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 18:54

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