I was thinking about how phrasal verbs are constructed. You take a verb and add a preposition to it. Like, Put off, Break up, Make out e.t.c.

As a learner of English I kind of have to memorize them if I want to use them. But what I was thinking is that does these preposition add any specific meaning when added at the end of the verb?

So instead of craming these words up I could just add these preposition myself and come up with the phrasal verb instead of memorizing them.

I do realize it's a big question coming straight out of my head and may not be clear when you first read. Instead of down voting the question, please comment and do let me if it's understandable or not. I'll try to rephrase my question, if it's not clear enough to you.

  • 2
    Sorry, there is no rule for how these prepositions work. Throw up and give up both have up, but up doesn't mean the same thing in them; there is no rule that would let you say "Oh, if I add up to the end of a verb it means _____."
    – stangdon
    Jan 11, 2022 at 19:47
  • What @stangdon said. Even your own examples have issues: How would you know that a boyfriend and girlfriend "break up" as opposed to "break down", "break out", "break off", etc.? Jan 11, 2022 at 19:56


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