Using phrasal verbs

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  1. What is the phrasal verbs?

  2. Types of phrasal verbs

  3. Some phrasal verbs

  4. Examples

In English, a phrasal verb is a phrase such as turn down or ran into which combines two or three words from different grammatical categories: a verb and a particle and/or a preposition together form a single semantic unit. This semantic unit cannot be understood based upon the meanings of the individual parts, but must be taken as a whole. In other words, the meaning is non-compositional and thus unpredictable. Phrasal verbs that include a preposition are known as prepositional verbs and phrasal verbs that include a particle are also known as particle verbs. Additional alternative terms for phrasal verb are compound verb, verb-adverb combination, verb-particle construction, two-part word/verb, and three-part word/verb (depending on the number of particles), and multi-word verb.

Some notes on terminology
The terminology of phrasal verbs is inconsistent. Modern theories of syntax tend to use the term phrasal verb to denote particle verbs only; they do not view prepositional verbs as phrasal verbs.
Literature in English as a second or foreign language ESL/EFL in contrast, tends to employ the term phrasal verb to encompass both prepositional and particle verbs.
Note that prepositions and adverbs can have a literal meaning that is spatial or orientational. Many English verbs can interact with an adverb or a preposition, and the verb + preposition/adverb complex is readily understood when used in its literal sense.
He walked across the square.
She opened the shutters and looked outside.
When he heard the crash, he looked up.
These more readily understandable combinations are not, strictly speaking, phrasal verbs, although many EFL/ESL books and dictionaries may include them in lists of phrasal verbs.
Shifting occurs between two (or more) sister constituents that appear on the same side of their head. The lighter constituent shifts leftward and the heavier constituent shifts rightward, and this happens to accommodate the relative weight of the two. Dependency grammar trees are again used to illustrate the point:
The trees illustrate when shifting can occur. English sentence structures that grow down and to the right are easier to process. There is a consistent tendency to place heavier constituents to the right, as is evident in the a-trees. Shifting is possible when the resulting structure does not contradict this tendency, as is evident in the b-trees. Note again that the particle verb constructions (in orange) qualify as catenae in both the a- and b-trees. Shifting does not alter this fact.
Phrasal verbs are represented in many languages by compound verbs. As a class, particle phrasal verbs belong to the same category as the separable verbs of other Germanic languages. For example in Dutch, de lamp aansteken (to light the lamp) becomes, in a principal clause, ik steek de lamp aan (I light the lamp on). Similarly, in German, das Licht einschalten (to switch on the light) becomes ich schalte das Licht ein (I switch the light on).
A few phrasal verbs exist in some Romance languages such as Lombard due to the influence of ancient Lombardic: example fa foeura (to do in: to eat up; to squander) and dà denter (to trade in; to bump into) in Lombard. Some of these verbs are used also in standard Italian, for instance "far fuori" (to get rid of), "mangiare fuori" (to eat out) and "andare d'accordo con" (to get on/along with).
An extension of the concept of phrasal verb is that of phrasal noun, where a verb+particle complex is nominalized.[17] The particles may come before or after the verb.
standby: We are keeping the old equipment on standby, in case of emergency.
back-up: Neil can provide technical backup if you need it.
onset: The match was halted by the onset of rain.
input: Try to come to the meeting – we'd value your input.
If the particle is in first place, then the phrasal noun is never written with a hyphen, if the particle comes second, then there is sometimes a hyphen between the two parts of the phrasal noun.
The two categories have different values. Particle-verb compounds in English are of ancient development, and are common to all Germanic languages, as well as to Indo-European languages in general. Those such as onset tend to retain older uses of the particles; in Old English on/an had a wider domain, which included areas now covered by at and in in English. Some such compound nouns have a corresponding phrasal verb but some do not, partly because of historical developments. The modern English verb+particle complex set on exists, but it means "start to attack" (set itself means start a process). Modern English has no exact verbal phrase equivalent to the older set on, but rather various combinations that apply different nuances to the idea of starting a process—such as winter has set inset off on a journeyset up the standset out on a day trip, etc. Verb-particle compounds are a more modern development in English, and focus more on the action expressed by the compound. That is to say, they are more overtly verbal.

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