Phrasal verb particle

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Phrasal verbs are compound verbs consisting of a main verb and a particle, which is borrowed from the lexical class of prepositions (e.g., in, out, over). The main verb is often a Germanic or Anglo-Saxon verb (go, get, come, run), and less commonly a Latinate verb (ruminate), as the phrasal verb construction is a more Anglo-Saxon or Germanic device.

Prepositions are primarily spatial terms, which are then extended to temporal meaning, and then to other metaphorical meanings. Prepositions are also commonly pressed into service to form a type of compound verb known as a phrasal verb, e.g., get up, get down, get around. In a phrasal verb, it is no longer functioning as a preposition, but as a phrasal verb particle (PVP) or an “adverbial” of sorts. These are common in English, but pose problems for second language learners, due to the many metaphorical uses. The metaphorical patterns are the same whether they are used as prepositions or PVPs.

The following is a list of prepositions that also serve as PVPs in English. They have similar metaphorical meanings, whether used as a true preposition or as a PVP. For example, over has similar metaphorical meanings, regardless of whether it is used as a true preposition or as a PVP in a phrasal verb, so its metaphorical meanings can be considered together regardless of its grammatical category.

  • about
  • after
  • across
  • apart
  • around
  • at
  • away
  • back
  • by
  • down
  • for
  • from
  • in
  • into
  • of
  • off
  • on
  • onto
  • out
  • over
  • through
  • to
  • up
  • with

Their meanings are often metaphorical, and similar metaphors are used regardless of whether the word is used as a true preposition or a PVP.