Posts Tagged ‘adverb particles’

Verbs with prepositions and particles

December 5th, 2010 in English Grammar

Two word verbs

A number of English verbs can be followed by prepositions or adverb particles.

Some verbs and prepositions / particles are regularly used together. Examples are: look at, listen to, sit down, stand up, turn off, put off, switch off etc. These combinations are like two-word verbs and are often called phrasal verbs. Note that in many cases the meaning of a two-word verb is different from the meanings of the two parts taken separately.

He didn’t turn up. (= He didn’t come.)

Here the phrasal verb turn up does not mean the same as turn + up.

Verbs with prepositions and particles together

Some verbs can be followed by both a preposition and an adverb particle.

I can’t get on with her.

Word order with objects

Prepositions normally go before objects.

He fell off the ladder. (NOT He fell the ladder off.)

Adverb particles can go before or after noun objects.

Can you switch off the light? OR Can you switch the light off?

If the object is a pronoun, the particle goes after it.

Can you switch it off? NOT Can you switch off it?
Give me my watch back. OR Give me back my watch. (NOT Give back me my watch.) The adverb particle cannot come before a pronoun object.


A preposition that comes at the end of a clause is usually unstressed.

They were ‘called on. (Preposition)

An adverb particle that comes at the end of a clause is usually stressed.

They were called ‘up. (Adverb particle)