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Phrasal Verbs

You use phrasal verbs all the time! Many are made up of two-word phrases with a verb and a preposition (try out) and some contain three words (look forward to). Even though they’re very common, it’s still easy to make a mistake when using them in a sentence.

INCORRECT

  • We sat down with the bagels and divided up them .
  • I’m looking forward to see you soon.

CORRECT

The two most common errors are misplaced pronouns (as in divided up them), and neglecting to use an –ing verb in a three-word phrase. Keep the constituent parts of a phrasal verb together so that you divide up the bagels. In the common three-word phrases, don’t forget the –ing at the end of the verb. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon.

MORE TO KNOW

Some three-word phrasal verbs are transitive and need a noun to be complete. You can get away with murder, look down on hoi polloi, and take care of your aging relative.

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