Friday, August 24, 2007

Common Particles in Phrasal Verbs: OFF

Off has various meanings when it is used as a particle* in a phrasal verb. While some of these meanings are literal, many are figurative. Here we will look at a few of these meanings and some examples.

Meaning 1
go away, leave a place or position
  • lift off: We watched as the giant rocket lifted off.
  • take off: Ed took three days off of work this week.
  • veer off: After the small car hit the pothole, it veered off the road and into the ditch.
  • make off: My ex-husband made off with all of the money in my bank acocunt.
  • run off: Jackie ran off with her high school sweetheart, leaving her family behind.

Meaning 2
remove or get rid of something
  • cut off: Michelle cut off the tags on her clothes before she wore them.
  • work off: Iris gained five pounds on vacation. Now, she is working that extra weight off at the gym.
  • take off: If it is too hot, feel free to take off your jacket.
  • fall off: The pictures fell off the wall in the quake.
  • cross off: I've already crossed several items off of my to-do list.

Meaning 3
start happening or start doing something
  • kick off: The game kicked off a few minutes late.
  • get off: We got off to a bad start, but now we are becoming better friends.
  • spark off: The mayor's decision sparked off rioting in the poorer parts of town.

Meaning 4
finish or complete something
  • carry off: I don't know if she'll be able to carry off the baby shower. It is in one week and she hasn't even sent out invitations yet!
  • log off: Did you log off the computer before you left? If not, someone else could use your account.
  • finish off: John finished off all the food in the refrigerator - and he's still hungry!
  • round off: We're going to round off the trip with a visit to the Panecillo and a light lunch at Pim's.
  • turn off: Please turn off the TV when you are finished.

Meaning 5
separate something from someone or something else, in order to keep it private, stop people entering it, etc.
  • block off: The police blocked off the area while they were searching for the suspect.
  • close off: The road was closed off because of the flooding.
  • fend off: She carries a fly swatter to fend off mosquitoes and bees.
  • fight off: I'm fighting off a cold.
  • scare off: Jenny scares off all her boyfriends by talking about marriage and babies on the first date.
  • laugh off: Clay just laughed off his mistake, but his boss didn't think it was funny.
  • brush off: She's an expert at brushing off criticim. It doens't seem to bother her at all.

Meaning 6
get out of a bus, train, plane, etc. or let someone do this
  • let off: You can let me off at the next corner.
  • get off: When you get off the bus, check to make sure that you are at the right stop.
  • drop off: You can drop off the books after 10 am. Alana will be expecting you.

*A particle is the second part of a phrasal verb (sometimes called a two-part verb) and is either a preposition (with, from) or an adverb (away, out).

Adapted from: Macmillan Phrasal Verbs Plus Dictionary.

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