Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More about Phrasal Verbs

  • Understanding phrasal verbs provides a key to a large amount of other English vocabulary
  • Contrary to popular belief, many other languages also have vocabuary that is very similar to English phrasal verbs.
  • Phrasal verbs , and the nouns and adjectives derived from them, are generally thought of as part of the Germanic component of English vocabulary, but inf fact we find very similar combinations in vocabulary that is derived from Latin and French too. In this case the order is particle + verb, and the spelling is always a single word.
  • It is often said that, in formal contexts, single-word equivalents are more appropriate than phrasal verbs. this advice may sometimes be useful but it is an oversimplification, and if it is followed too closely, it can sometimes lead to unnatural or over-formal language.

That said, see if you can think of the single-word equivalent of these common phrasal verbs: (Answers at the bottom of this post.)
  1. leave out
  2. go back
  3. look for
  4. put on
  5. call off
  6. bring up
  7. put up with
  8. give up
  9. decide on
  10. get out
Which of these phrasal verbs are probably a better choice than their single-word counterpart? Why?

  1. omit
  2. return
  3. search
  4. don
  5. cancel
  6. raise
  7. tolerate
  8. quit
  9. choose
  10. leave

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