A phrasal verb is a verb + adverb.
● Come in and sit down.
●I took off my shoes.
A prepositional verb is a verb + preposition.
● I was looking at the photo.
● We didn’t go into all the details.
The preposition has an object (the photo,
Some phrasal verbs have no object.
● Suddenly the lights went out.
● Others have an object.
●Someone turned out the lights.
When a phrasal verb has an object, both these orders are usually possible.
● We woke up the neighbours.
● We woke the neighbours up.
The adverb (up) can go before or after the
object (the neighbours).
When the object is a pronoun, the adverb goes after it.
● The neighbours were annoyed because we
woke them up.
When the object is a long phrase, the adverb usually goes before it.
● We woke up just about everybody in the
The adverb can sometimes go in front position for extra emphasis.
● The door opened, and out ran the boys.
There is usually inversion of subject and
verb, unless the subject is a pronoun.
● The door opened, and out they ran.
A prepositional verb always has an object
after the preposition.
● Lisa paid for the meal.
● Lisa paid for it.
Compare these examples.
● She looked at it. (prepositional verb, stress on looked)
● She put it away. (phrasal verb, stress
An adverbial usually goes after the phrasal
verb but between a verb and preposition.
● The plane took off on time.
● I looked carefully at the photo.
Many phrasal and prepositional verbs can be passive.
● The alarm has been switched off.
● The matter will be dealt with.