Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Some Phrasal Verbs on Yahoo! Answers

I'm often searching Yahoo! Answers for questions people ask about learning ESL or other English grammar questions. One of my answers was recently chosen as Best Answer by the asker of the following question about phrasal verbs:

"Which is correct English and why? : Turn up the volume or Turn the volume up? Turn off the water or turn the water off. Turn up the volume or Turn the volume up. Turn off the water faucet or Turn the water faucet off. Which of these is correct and why?"

Here was my answer to this English question:

"They are all correct. You are using what are called "phrasal verbs." A phrasal verb is when you have a regular verb (like "turn") and combine it with a preposition (like, "off"). The phrasal verbs you have used are called "separable." That means you can separate the main verb from the preposition. So you can put the subject (like, "the water faucet") in between the two words making up the phrasal verb.

Some phrasal verbs are "inseparable." For example, "to count on someone" means to "to rely on someone." You cannot separate "count" and "on" in this case."

Phrasal verbs are particularly difficult for people learning English as a Second Language, and for native English speakers, as well. I'll write more about phrasal verbs in the future.


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