What Is a Phrasal Verb? A phrasal verb is different from a verb phrase. A verb phrase, sometimes called a, is made up of a main verb along with any complements, objects or adverbial phrases that follow it. It is a verb plus a lot of other things if they exist in a sentence. A phrasal verb is simply a made up of more than one word. It is two or three words that make up one main verb. A phrasal verb is only a verb, not anything else in the sentence.
A phrasal verb is a combination of words (a verb + a preposition or verb +adverb) that when used together, usually take on a different meaning to that of the original verb. Phrasal verbs are part of a large group of verbs called “multi-part” or 'multi-word” verbs. The preposition or adverb that follows the verb is sometimes called a particle. Phrasal verbs and other multi-word verbs are an important part of the English language. A phrasal verb is a verb followed by an adverb, a preposition or both, which changes the original meaning of the verb. In phrasal verbs like 'showed up” or 'made up', 'up' is an adverb, not a preposition. A phrasal verb is a type of compound verb made up of a verb (usually one of action or movement) and a prepositional adverb--also known as an adverbial particle.Phrasal verbs are sometimes called two-part verbs (e.g., take off and leave out) or three-part verbs (e.g., look up to and look down on).
Usually, the words that constitute a phrasal verb are a verb and a, but that is not always the case. Sometimes the first word in a phrasal verb is not a verb at all, but when paired with the preposition, the whole phrase becomes a verb. For example, the phrasal verb 'clam up' is made of a noun (clam) and a preposition (up). When you combine them, however, they become one verb meaning 'to become quiet or refuse to speak.'
To give another example, the verb 'give' means to turn over the possession of something. However, when combined with various prepositions, the phrases take on their own meanings, which are quite different from the meanings of the two individual words. • give away - to reveal some information or tell a secret; to give something to someone for free • give back - to return a borrowed item; to repay a charitable action with another charitable action • give in - to reluctantly stop fighting or arguing • give out - to give something to a lot of people for free; to stop working from over-exertion • give up - to quit a habit; to stop trying to succeed at something How to Recognize Phrasal Verbs So how do you know when you're dealing with a phrasal verb and not just a verb and a preposition? Well, you have to look at the whole sentence. If the two words can be understood literally, it's a verb and a preposition. If they have to be taken together with a meaning that has little or nothing to do with the meaning of the verb alone, then it's a phrasal verb.