Multiword verbs, including phrasal verbs, are very common, especially in spoken English. A multiword verb is a verb like pick up, turn on or get on with. These verbs consist of a basic verb + another word or words. The other word(s) can be prepositions and/or adverbs. The two or three words that make up multiword verbs form a short "phrase" - which is why some people refer to all multiword verbs as "phrasal verbs".
The important thing to remember is that a multiword verb is still a verb. "Look" is a verb. "Look up", is also a verb - a different verb. "Look" and "look up" are two different verbs. They do not have the same meaning, and they behave differently grammatically. You should treat each multiword 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 multiword verb formed from the singleword verb:
|singleword verb||look||direct your eyes in a certain direction||You must look before you leap.|
|multiword verbs||phrasal||look up||search for and find information in a reference book||You can look up the word in a dictionary.|
|prepositional||look after||take care of||Who is looking after the baby?|
|phrasal-prepositional||look forward to||anticipate with pleasure||I look forward to meeting you.|
In this lesson we look at the three types of multiword verbs, starting with phrasal verbs, and we end with a quiz to check your understanding:
- phrasal verbs
- prepositional verbs
- phrasal-prepositional verbs