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Phrasal Verbs and Prepositional Verbs - Further Explanation

Phrasal-prepositional Verbs

Phrasal-prepositional verbs are a small group of multi-word verbs made from a verb plus another word or words. Many people refer to all multi-word verbs as phrasal verbs but given below are examples to show the distinction between three types of multi-word verbs: prepositional verbs, phrasal verbs and phrasal-prepositional verbs.

Phrasal-prepositional verbs are made of:

verb + adverb + preposition

Look at these examples of phrasal-prepositional verbs:


phrasal-prepositional verbs Meaning   examples


      direct object

get on with

have a friendly relationship with

He doesn't get on with

his wife.

put up with


I won't put up with

your attitude.

look forward to

anticipate with pleasure

I look forward to

seeing you.

run out of

use up, exhaust

We have run out of


Because phrasal-prepositional verbs end with a preposition, there is always a direct object. And, like prepositional verbs, phrasal-prepositional verbs cannot be separated. Look at these examples:

phrasal-prepositional verbs are


ran out of



ran out of


The important thing to remember is that a multi-word verb is still a verb. "Get" is a verb. "Get up", is also a verb, a different verb. "Get" and "get up" are two different verbs. They do not have the same meaning. So you should treat each multi-word verb as a separate verb, and learn it like any other verb. Look at these examples. You can see that there are three types of multi-word verb:

single-word verb look direct your eyes in a certain direction You must look before you leap.
multi-word verbs

prepositional verbs

look after

take care of

Who is looking after the baby?

phrasal verbs

look up

search for and find information in a reference book

You can look up my number in the telephone directory.

phrasal-prepositional verbs

look forward to

anticipate with pleasure

I look forward to meeting you.

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