Questions tagged [phrasal-verbs]

a combination of a lexical verb and one or two particles having the same form as prepositions or adverbs, employed as a single verb. The term is sometimes reserved for combinations in which the particle may follow the object of the verb and is not fronted with a WH- relative object.

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5 answers
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What does it mean by "my days-of-the-week underwear only go to Thursday" in this context?

Emily: Lorelai? I'm going shopping this afternoon. I thought I'd pick up a few things for Rory. Lor: I already took care of all that, mom. I got her two skirts and a bunch of tops. Emily: ...
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28 votes
6 answers
10k views

Is "plugging out" electronic devices an American expression?

Are these valid in American English as opposed to "unplug". Plug out the charger from the wall. I plugged out my TV. I found my radio plugged out. I started hanging out with some guys ...
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28 votes
7 answers
13k views

“I’m too tired to drive”: Why does removing 'too' make this sentence ungrammatical?

This is grammatical: I'm too tired to drive. but this isn't: I'm tired to drive. Why? How can removing an adverb make a sentence ungrammatical? In a sentence like “He slowly walked down the ...
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22 votes
4 answers
19k views

What does “stop by my desk later” mean?

What does the phrase stop by my desk later mean? For example: I can email you the link. Or stop by my desk later, and I can show you some photos. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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22 votes
1 answer
12k views

Why say "Wait your turn" but "Wait FOR..." everything else?

Why in English is the word "for" not used in the phrase "wait your turn?" Wouldn't it make more sense to say "Wait for your turn" as for other things on which one waits? Wait for the stop light not ...
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20 votes
6 answers
6k views

difference between "came along" and "along came"

What is the difference between the two? For example John came along. Along came John. I don't understand the difference in usage and yet I come across too many sentences starting with '...
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16 votes
14 answers
8k views

What do you call the process of filling up an electric kettle and turning it on in one verb or phrasal verb?

What do you call the process of filling up an electric kettle and turning it on? Does set up fit the context? For example: Please set up the kettle. We need some hot water.
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16 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is the particle 'up' redundant in phrases like 'to pick *up* berries'?

Is the particle up redundant in phrases like this one? to pick up berries (flowers, fruit) Or is it acceptable and doesn't change the meaning 'to gather' (update: I mean, to gather in the woods, ...
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15 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is it wrong to hyphenate a phrasal verb like "log in" or is it a matter of style?

People log in to Facebook. In this sentence, if I change log in to log-in, will it be grammatically incorrect? Or the adding/omission of a hyphen is just a matter of style? The other thing is, if ...
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15 votes
3 answers
647 views

Is there a general rule for Verb + Preposition/Particle idioms, such as "come across"?

Composite verbs are giving me a lot of trouble. In German the syntax is simple; if the composite verb has the moving part, it goes to the end. But in English I've found many forms and I'm not sure ...
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14 votes
6 answers
3k views

Is there any difference between "pour drinks" and "pour out drinks"?

Could you tell me if there is any difference between pour drinks and pour out drinks? For example: Could you pour (out) drinks while I serve the snacks
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14 votes
4 answers
32k views

I look forward to hearing from you or looking forward to hear from you?

Should I say I look forward to hearing from you or looking forward to hear from you? I have doubt because I know that the form of a verb is "to+ infinity" without the addition of the -ing ...
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14 votes
4 answers
8k views

I left them (at) home

Consider this question: Where are they (things or people)? Would the following answer be with (at), without it or either one? I left them (at) home I have done a quick Google search and found ...
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13 votes
4 answers
3k views

What do 'er and patch 'er up mean?

What does the contraction 'er and the phrasal verb patch 'er up mean in the following text: This section will cover a lot of ground and your brain may meltdown a few times, but don’t worry, that’s ...
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13 votes
5 answers
9k views

Can I say "I was born in a place but bred in another place" instead of using "born and bred" in pair?

I am wondering If I tell people that I was born in Melbourne but bred in Sydney, will the people think that I am married and have many children in Sydney? Because when someone "breeds" then it ...
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12 votes
2 answers
12k views

what does "abstract away from" mean?

I'm reading a technical book about programming and I came across on this sentence, "A dependency abstracts functionality away from calling code. You don't need to worry too much about what a ...
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11 votes
5 answers
2k views

Does "peer down on somebody" include the meaning of contempt?

Does "to peer down on somebody" mean "to look at somebody with contempt, as if you think you are better"? The context is this: The sculptures peer down on visitors to America's ...
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11 votes
5 answers
57k views

Do we say "accuse somebody for" or "of"?

In one of my essays, I wrote: She accused him for lack of morality and it was marked as a syntactic error. Do we use for or of with the verb accuse?
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11 votes
2 answers
4k views

Scoot over - how to use

I was looking at the questions list and realized one hot question on the right-sidebar's list that I had never seen before, it was talking about the phrasal verb 'Scoot over' which means To move in ...
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11 votes
1 answer
350 views

May I use a phrasal verb as an adjective, like "commented out code"?

I'd like to express that some old code that has been commented out should be removed. May I phrase it as follows? Remove old, commented out code.
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  • 415
11 votes
3 answers
98k views

Difference between "trust", "trust in", and "trust on"

I don't know the exact meaning of these sentences. I trust you. I trust in you. I trust on you. I have heard all these sentences. But usually use the 2nd one whenever I need to say it to ...
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10 votes
4 answers
3k views

Should it be "lie low" in "Okay. I'll lay low for 24 hours"?

I've seen both versions: "lie low" and "lay low". I was wondering if "lay low" is the mistaken form of "lie low". For instance, Okay. I'll lay low for 24 hours....
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10 votes
6 answers
7k views

Put the phone down / Put down the phone

what's the difference between "Put the phone down" and "Put down the phone"? Is it the same? As for me the first one means literally to put the phone (the thing) down and the last one is to end the ...
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10 votes
2 answers
7k views

What does "they blew everyone away" mean?

The band was awesome! They blew everyone away. What does this mean? Surely it does not mean the band actually blew everyone away. But it seems to mean something good?
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10 votes
3 answers
40k views

"turn down the volume" or "turn the volume down" - phrasal verb structure [duplicate]

I'm learning about phrasal verbs, but I'm not sure if I'll use them correctly. Which one of the following phrasal verb uses correct: -I don't know how to turn down the volume? -I don't know how to ...
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10 votes
1 answer
10k views

What is the meaning of "in" and "on" when they are used together?

I have never seen the prepositions in and on used together in any sentence. I cannot imagine what in out would mean in a sentence. However, I recently have seen this kind of usage, and I had ...
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9 votes
3 answers
45k views

Why does "tap into" mean what it means?

According to Macmillan "tap into" means "use" or "get some benefit": tap or tap into [TRANSITIVE] if you tap something such as someone’s ability or a supply of information, you use it or get some ...
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9 votes
3 answers
88k views

"I look forward" or "I'm looking forward"?

Which should I say: I'm looking forward to our meeting. or I look forward to our meeting.
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  • 415
9 votes
4 answers
131k views

"Stay home" or "stay at home" – which is correct and why? [duplicate]

Stay home. Stay at home. When "home" functions as an adverb, it can modify the verb "stay". There are other examples, such as "go home",but there is no expression: Go ...
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9 votes
1 answer
29k views

Is adjective "backuped" correct?

I have a list of servers which should be backed up, but I don't know where they are, so a script tries to find them and logs this activity. I've put this phrase in my log facility and now I'm ...
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8 votes
5 answers
3k views

Single-word vs. phrasal verbs: When to use the latter, and is the former more formal?

When can we use phrasal verbs instead of verbs? For example, 'look back' is a phrasal verb. And the verbs 'recall' and 'remember' have the same meaning as that phrasal verb. 2. So when can we use '...
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8 votes
2 answers
22k views

pick vs pick out vs pick up

I am very confused about which one I should use in which situation. For example: Let’s look through your closet and I’ll help you pick something out. can we replace out in exchange for up here. ...
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

What does the phrase "pinch apart" mean here?

Here is a sentence from a task management app: The app allows you to add tasks in several ways and in one of them you can pinch apart two items in order to squeeze a task in between them. I am ...
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8 votes
3 answers
23k views

What is the difference between "get through" and "go through"?

Is there any difference between "go through a door" and "get through a door"?
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is there any way other than cramming to guess meaning of a phrasal verb?

The meanings of some phrasal verbs can be guessed sometimes; like go after, give back, find out, etc. Some sentences: 1) Go after her quickly. 2) Give my wallet back. 3) Find out what I ...
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8 votes
3 answers
15k views

Improve vs Improve on

I just want to confirm the usages of the phrasal verb "improve on" and the word "improve". My understanding is that one improves his skills, abilities and one improves on results, a numbers. Am I ...
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7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is it natural to use the phrase "run something by someone" in the sense of passing information on to someone?

Would you tell me if it is natural to use the phrase run something by someone in the sense of passing information on someone? For example: You can give the list of everything you want to buy and I'll ...
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7 votes
3 answers
4k views

Plane took off [from] the runway

What if a phrasal verb ends in the preposition needed to connect a noun? The plane took off the runway. (The plane was ON the runway, and therefore preposition OFF is preferred) The plane took ...
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

meaning of "vague that up"

I couldn't get the meaning of: vague up. What does it mean? Giles: The influx of the undead, the... supernatural occurrences, it's been building for years. There's a reason why you're here and a ...
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

"Plugged in" or "Plugged in in"

Where's the charger? It's not plugged in in the usual place. Where's the charger? It's not plugged in the usual place. I'm a native English speaker, but I've realised I'm not sure which of the ...
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  • 197
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

toggle in -- what does this phrasal verb mean?

Example with a context (Java: A Beginner's Guide, 6th Edition by Herbert Schildt): OOP is a powerful way to approach the job of programming. Programming methodologies have changed dramatically ...
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Rules for phrasal verbs

Are there any common rules for creating / figuring out the meaning of phrasal verbs, knowing the meaning of base verb? Ex. 'out' particle can obviously refer to something outside. leave OUT - omit ...
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7 votes
2 answers
78k views

Use of "depend on" and "depending on"

The family name may appear on the left side or the right side of the door, depends on which floor you are on. A careful driver watches the road and goes slowly or quickly depending upon the condition ...
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7 votes
7 answers
2k views

Use of "up" in "back up", to mean going in reverse

Why do we use the term "back up" when we are going in reverse? This is sometimes confusing for young English Language learners. Going backwards is understandable, where does the word "up" fit in? Are ...
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7 votes
1 answer
14k views

'require from' vs 'require of'

ODO: require something of = Regard an action, ability, or quality as due from (someone) by virtue of their position 'of' in phrasal verbs, still confuses me. 1. Which ODO definition applies? 2. ...
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6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Can I use the phrasal verb 'grow apart' in this way?

Sentence: I grew this idea apart (I'm not interested in some idea because I'm older now, therefore I consider some idea as inappropriate) As far as I understand, the phrasal verb 'grow apart' ...
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  • 1,596
6 votes
2 answers
59k views

What are the differences between "check it" and "check it out"?

"Check it" makes sense to me. But I don't understand the meaning of "check it out". It is not the only case. In many cases, the addition of "out" makes the sentences/phrases awkward to me, though this ...
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6 votes
4 answers
11k views

In phrasal verbs, why is it sometimes considered 'adverbs', and sometimes 'prepositions'?

I was studying phrasal verbs and I couldn't figure out something. The source separated them into three type which are: Type1: Verb + Adverb Examples: Put off, turn down, get up, break ...
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

"I feel a toast coming on"

I learned that "I feel a toast coming on" is equivalent to "I propose a toast". I'm curious about the grammar of the phrase "I feel a toast coming on". S1 feel S2 V+ ing equals to S1 feels that S2 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
7k views

"Listen to" or "listen for"

The first step is listening for the key issues and emotional concerns of community people. In this text by Teresa of Avila, we should listen for the extreme meaning, what I call the "art of ...
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