phrasal verb

EnglishEdit

NounEdit

phrasal verb (plural phrasal verbs)

  1. (linguistics) A two-word verb, consisting of a verb and a "small" adverb, that has an idiomatic meaning not easily predictable from the individual parts.
    In 'The police told the driver to pull over', 'pull over' is a phrasal verb.
  2. (linguistics, more loosely) A phrase, consisting of a verb and either or both of a preposition or adverb, that has idiomatic meaning.
    • 1988, Andrew Radford, Transformational grammar: a first course, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, page 98:
      Thus, it would seem that as far as GAPPING is concerned, the whole expression put off is somehow treated as a single 'compound Verb'. But this is the very intuition which we encapsulated in analysis (125) (b), by giving the sequence [put off] the status of a single V constituent (i.e. by analysing it as a Phrasal Verb). Thus, facts about GAPPING lend yet further support to analysis (125).

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