1

Both seem to be in common usage, but is there a nuanced difference about when one is more appropriate than the other? Thanks.

6

They're both forms of the same thing, a verb-particle idiom sometimes called a "phrasal verb":

  I sped the video up.  
  I sped up the video.

But if the direct object is an unstressed personal pronoun, up has to come at the end:

  I sped it up.  
 *I sped up it. (ungrammatical)

And if the direct object is very long, put up first:

 ?I sped the new program for rendering alpha and beta particles up.  (awkward) 
  I sped up the new program for rendering alpha and beta particles.

Otherwise it's difficult to understand.

3

There really is no difference; it is a phrasal verb (a verb consisting of both a "main verb" and a "prepositional particle", which combine to have a different meaning than the verb alone), and a phrasal verb can be joined directly or split, depending on the object. The only hard and fast rule regarding splitting up a phrasal verb is that if you use a pronoun as the object, the pronoun MUST split the phrasal verb:

good: I want to speed the engine up

good: I want to speed up the engine

good: I want to speed it up

wrong: I want to speed up it

Otherwise, the primary guideline is, try not to put the particle so far away that it's hard to recognize that a phrasal verb has been used; see this ELU question about splitting up phrasal verbs for more info.

  • Very great and nifty answer. I gave +1 – Abbasi Jun 3 '17 at 11:18

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