The foundation of English rests on the hundreds of words that have a definite role to play in communication. A verb and a noun are essential parts of sentences, which form the basic unit of communication. Adverbs and prepositions are parts of speech that play a specific role in English. We have seen how adjectives modify nouns. An adverb modifies a verb and it communicates much more meaning than just a verb. A preposition is a word that is used before a noun and it helps describe a relationship between other words in a sentence. A noun or a verb by themselves have some meaning and carry more meaning when used in a sentence. Similarly adverbs and prepositions by themselves do not mean much but they can be exceptional when used in sentences. Phrasal verbs are expressions that comprise a combination of a verb and either a preposition or an adverb. Phrasal verbs provide different meanings to the original verb they are formed from.
In the sentence ‘His uncle often NODS OFF in front of the television,’ NODS OFF is a phrasal verb and it means 'to fall asleep'.
The sentences ‘Anamika can DEPEND ON Mustaq’ and ‘Anamika can TAKE ON Trupti’ are sentences containing phrasal verbs. In the first sentence it is clear that if required Anamika can get the support of Mustaq. In the second sentence Anamika can confront Trupti if it comes to that. In both sentences you will notice ON is the word tagged on to the verb. In the first sentence ON is used as a preposition and in the second sentence it is used as an adverb. Thus, you can see that phrasal verbs impart much more meaning to sentences.
Phrasal verbs are seldom used in formal English and are more often heard in spoken English and informal situations. Take this quiz and test your knowledge of phrasal verbs.