'I just didn’t see them. I drove through the traffic
lights when they were red.'
'He wasn’t tall enough and couldn’t climb over the fence.'
In these two examples, through and over are prepositions and are
used with objects: 'through the traffic lights' and 'over the fence'.
Prepositions always have objects. This combination of verb and preposition
is usually referred to as a prepositional verb, although sometimes
it is also known as a phrasal verb. Further examples might be:
'Could you look after my cat while I’m away?'
'She sailed through her exams and got top marks.'
consider these two sentences:
'He broke down on the Dover to Canterbury Road.'
'I was too close to the car in front so I dropped back.'
In these examples, down and back are not prepositions
but function as adverbs to extend or change the meaning of the verb.
This combination of verb and adverb is always known as a phrasal
that it is not always possible to guess the meaning of phrasal verbs
(or prepositional verbs for that matter) from the normal meaning
of the verb. Instead, you may need to try to guess the meaning from
the context, or, failing that, you might have to look it up in a
the above examples:
care for, take care of
through something without difficulty
It’s not clear what is meant by this sentence without the larger
context. Either the car broke down and stopped working
or the driver broke down and started crying because he/she
was very sad about something;
drive more slowly to increase the distance between yourself
and the vehicle in front.
that when a phrasal verb takes a direct object, the adverb can be
put before or after the object:
you please pay the money back / pay back the money
as soon as possible after Easter?'
'He ripped the contract up / ripped up the contract
even before he had read it.'
frightened the deer away / frightened away the deer
when they got too close to them.'
However, if the object is a pronoun, the adverb must be placed
after the object:
you please pay it back as soon as possible after Easter?'
ripped it up even before he had read it.'
'They frightened them away when they got too close to them.'
Most phrasal verbs consist of two words, a verb and an adverb or a
verb and a preposition. However, there are a number of phrasal verbs
which consist of three words: a verb, an adverb and a preposition.