English Grammar with FREE pdf – Prepositional vs. Phrasal Verbs

Many students mix prepositional with phrasal verbs. However, we make a distinction between them. There is only one minor difference: the particle in phrasal verbs can come before or after the object (if the object is not a pronoun),

*the particles in phrasal verbs can come before or after the object (if the object is not a pronoun)

Example: I’ll put my coat on.

*the prepositions in prepositional verbs come only  before the object and immediately after the verb:

Example: She is studying for the exam. You cannot write: She is studying the exam for.

The main difference here between the prepositional and phrasal verbs are that prepositional verbs always have prepositions which need objects in order to complete a sentence and in phrasal verbs we have something that seems to be a preposition but instead, behaves as an adverb that actually changes the meaning of the verb (or the whole sentence) and not as a preposition although it is the same word.  Look at the another examples:

Prepositional verb:

  • She has agreed to the plan. – we have an object the plan after the verb+preposition construction ( agree + to).

Phrasal verb:

      • I don’t like to get up early. Here up is behaving as an adverb particle and not as a preposition. It modifies the meaning of put and adds it a completely new meaning.


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