Session 2

Phrasal verbs are an important feature of natural English. There are different types with different grammar. Find out about them in this session and test what you've picked up. Then listen out for Dave's sad holiday story in 6 Minute Grammar.

ክፍለ-ስራሓት ናይዚ ምዕራፍ

ድምር ነጥቢ ናይዚ ክፍለ-ስራሓት 2

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    Activity 1
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    Activity 3

Activity 1

Multi-word verbs

What is a multi-word verb?

A multi-word verb is a verb that has more than one word. We usually think of them as a main verb followed by one or two particles. The particle could be an adverb or a preposition.

I never messed around at school, I was a good student.
(to mess around = to behave badly)

My car's broken down twice this month. I think it's time to splash out on a new one.

(to break down = to stop working / to splash out on something = to spend a lot of money on something)

I'm busy now. Can you call me back later?

(to call someone back = to telephone someone again)

Alright, I give in, you can have a party. Now stop going on about it.
(to give in = to agree to do something after a long time without agreement / to go on about something = to talk about a particular subject repeatedly)

Multi-word verbs with prepositions are known as prepositional verbs. Multi-word verbs with adverbs are known as phrasal verbs. The term phrasal verbs is often used to refer to all multi-word verbs.

What do they mean?

The meaning of some multi-word verbs is easy to understand - or work out - as they are quite literal.

Sit down, please.
Why don't we give away our old clothes to charity?
Don't try to get on the train if it's already moving.

Other multi-word verbs are more metaphorical and idiomatic so it can be difficult to work out their meaning.

Can you please stop showing up your brother.
(to show someone up = to embarrass someone by pointing out things they are not good at or are doing wrong)
I wasn't expecting him to show up.
(to show up = to arrive at a place or event)

Do you need to learn them?

Oh yes! multi-word verbs are very very common in everyday spoken English and in writing. Understanding them will really help you with your English comprehension.

ነቲ ጽሑፍ ብምንባብ ነቲ ስራሕ ዕመምዎ

Same verb, different meaning

Some multi-word verbs have different meanings. These examples are all connected with verb to take off.

He's very good at taking people off
(to take someone off = to impersonate, mimic, copy the way someone speaks)

Our flight finally took off after a two-hour delay.
(to take off = to leave the ground) 

When he came in he took his jacket off.
(to take something off = to remove an item of clothing)

I never thought social media would take off. I guess I couldn't have been more wrong.
(to take off = to become successful and popular)

He wasn't playing well so the manager took him off after 30 minutes.
(to take someone off = to substitute a player)

Crumbs! Is that the time? I've got to take off.
(to take off = to leave suddenly)

I'm not feeling very well, I think I'll have to take the day off.
(to take a period of time off = to not go to work for a period of time)

The grammar of multi-word verbs

There are four types of multi-word verbs. Each type has different rules which tell you if they have an object and where you can put the object.

Type 1

  • transitive: they must have a direct object
  • the object can come after the particle or between the verb and particle
    He took off his jacket.
    He took his jacket off.
  • if you use a pronoun instead of the object it must come between the verb and particle.
    He took it off.
    NOT: He took off it.

Here are some other Type 1 verbs from this page.

to call someone back
to give something away
to show someone up
to take something off
to take someone off
to take a period of time off

 

Type 2

  • transitive: they have a direct object
  • the object must come after the particle
    Don't try to get on the train if it's already moving.
    NOT: Don't try to get the train on if it's already moving.
  • if you use a pronoun instead of the object it must not come between the verb and particle.
    Don't try to get on it if it's already moving.
    NOT: Don't try to get it on if it's already moving.

Here's a type 2 verb from this page.

To get on something

Type 3

  • intransitive: they don't have an object
  • you can't split the verb from the particle.

Here are some Type 3 verbs from this page.

to mess around
to break down
to give in
to show up
to take off


Type 4

  • transitive: they have a direct object
  • they have two particles (an adverb followed by a preposition)
  • You must put the object or pronoun after both particles.
    Stop going on about it.
    NOT: Stop going on it about.
    NOT: Stop going it on about.

Here are some Type 4 verbs from this page.

to splash out on something.
to go on about something.

To do

The quiz has multi-word verbs from this page. Choose the best answer to complete each sentence. 

The right order?

5 Questions

For each question choose the best way to complete the sentence. All the verbs have come from this page.

ኣገናዕ፡ ፈተናኹም ዛዚምኩም
Excellent! Great job! ሕማቕ ዕድል! ዘመዝገብኩምዎ ነጥቢ ...:
x / y

Next

Now we've gone over the rules, it's time for some tips on how to study and learn multi-word verbs. There's also another quiz to help you practise some more.

ናይ ስዋስው ክፍሊ

  • The grammar of multi-word verbs

    There are four types of multi-word verbs. Each type has different rules which tell you if they have an object and where you can put the object.

    Type 1

    They are transitive so they must have a direct object. The object can come after the particle or between the verb and particle

    He took off his jacket.
    He took his jacket off.

    If you use a pronoun instead of the object it must come between the verb and particle.

    He took it off.
    NOT: He took off it.

    Type 2

    They are transitive so they have a direct object. The object must come after the particle.

    Don't try to get on the train if it's already moving.
    NOT: Don't try to get the train on if it's already moving.

    If you use a pronoun instead of the object it must not come between the verb and particle.

    Don't try to get on it if it's already moving.
    NOT: Don't try to get it on if it's already moving.

    Type 3

    These are intransitive, they don't have an object. You can't split the verb from the particle.

    Stop messing around

    Type 4

    These are transitive, they have a direct object. They have two particles (an adverb followed by a preposition). You must put the object or pronoun after both particles.

    Stop going on about it.
    NOT: Stop going on it about.
    NOT: Stop going it on about.

     

Session Vocabulary

  • Some multi-word verbs

    to mess around
    to behave badly

    to break down
    to stop working

    to splash out on something
    to spend a lot of money on something

    to call someone back
    to telephone someone again

    to give in
    to agree to do something after a long time without agreement

    to go on about something
    to talk about a particular subject repeatedly

    to show someone up
    to embarrass someone by pointing out things they are not good at or are doing wrong

    to show up
    to arrive at a place or event

    Take off multi-word verbs

    to take someone off
    to impersonate, mimic, copy the way someone speaks

    to take off
    to leave the ground

    to take something off
    to remove an item of clothing

    to take off
    to become successful and popular

    to take someone off
    to substitute a player

    to take off
    to leave suddenly

    to take a period of time off
    to not go to work for a period of time