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Often I read "up" and "down" with some verbs. For example: "write down", "take down", "wake up", "open up". Some of them (maybe all of them?) can be used in both: "break up" and "break down".

So, my questions are:

  • What does "up" and "down" change in meaning of the verb?
  • Can I use "up" and "down" with all verbs or just with some of them?
  • Should I always append (for example) "up" to "wake" when I say to somebody that he must wake?

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They are called as adverbial particles. They just emphasize the verbs and removing them may not change the meaning of the sentence. Consider this...

The teachers give away the awards to the brilliant students in their classes

But that's not the case always. In some sentences, these particles play crucial role in making the sentence understandable.

Switch off the light - You cannot remove the adverbial particle here.

Beware, you cannot simply put these particles to any verb. Write up and write down have different meanings.

Good read here and here.

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