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Examples:

  1. I want to succeed in running a business.
  2. My son succeeded in his exams.
  3. They hope to succeed in life.

Is "succeed in" a phrasal verb in any of these sentences? If not, when is it (if ever)?

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"Succeed in" is not a phrasal verb. The verb succeed does have the preposition "in" aftet it, but the phrase doesn't have a meaning that's different from its separate parts; both the verb succeed and the preposition in are used in a sentence with their separate meaning.

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  • Correct, but your explanation actually explains why it is not an idiom, rather than why it is not a phrasal verb. But I agree that it is not even a set phrase (as you could also say "succeed at" or "succeed by), it is simply a collocation. Jul 13 '15 at 10:12
  • @Brian, I think I read something somewhere else that defines phrasal verbs in a similar way to Khan's explanation, unless I misunderstood the article: random-idea-english.blogspot.com/2011/05/… Among other things, the linked article talks about what is and what is not a phrasal verb. (I came across 'succeed in doing something' and in many places it was said to be a phrasal verb, though I wasn't so sure.)
    – 41st
    Jul 13 '15 at 10:32
  • I checked your link, and 2 out of 5 dictionaries cited there mention a meaning different than the combination of the parts' meanings. So they're far from unanimous about that. Opinions vary. Here's one to consider, from englishforums.com/English/DifferenceBeteenIdiomsPhrasal-Verbs/… : Mister Micawber says--- Some phrasal verbs are idioms (She makes up every morning), and some are not (He brought back my book). Some idioms are phrasal verbs (My dad chewed me out), but most are not (Tell me the news-- I'm all ears). Jul 13 '15 at 11:34

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