What are 2 essential types of phrasal verbs of English?

Phrasal verbs of English
What are 2 essential types of phrasal verbs of English?

Some languages including English contain verbs that are composed of more than one word. These verbs, which are known as phrasal verbs of English, are a combination of a verb and a word from a different grammatical category.

Phrasal verbs of English are commonly considered as informal entities that either belong to the inseparable category or they are a part of the separable group of these types of grammatical existences.

Types of phrasal verbs of English and their use

phrasal verbs of English
What are 2 essential types of phrasal verbs of English?

As one feature of English language, phrasal verbs of English usually come in the form of separable and inseparable verbs. The separable phrasal verbs of English are the type of verbs, which their composing parts can either stand next to each other in a sentence or have a certain word sit between them.

On the other hand, the inseparable type of these verbs, as their name indicates, don’t allow their two-part structure to be separated by any type of other words.

Some of the most common phrasal verbs of English are: “ask out”, “break down”, “break up”, and “catch up”. In this article each of these verbs are completely explained.

Separable phrasal verbs of English: ask out and break down

Phrasal verbs of English

“Ask out” and “break down” are two of the most common separable phrasal verbs of English. Their parts can either come together and sit side by side in a sentence, or usually have a certain word sitting between them. 

In English, “ask out” means “inviting someone on a date”. While “break down” can contain several meanings. As for example: “a machine ceasing to function”, “the collapse of a relationship”, “demolishing something”, “dismantle an object into smaller parts”, or “changing a substance using chemical action”.

When using the mentioned phrasal verbs of English, we usually tend to use them similarly to the way they are used in the examples below:

  1. I asked her out.
  2. I was asked out by him.

As it can be seen in the sentences above “ask out” can function as both separable and inseparable phrasal verb.

  1. I broke down the car by accident.
  2. The door knob needs fixing so I broke it down.

The two examples of the use of “break down” above also show how this phrasal verb works as the same way as “ask out” is used in a sentence.

Inseparable phrasal verbs of English: break up and catch up

The other group of phrasal verbs of English is related to the inseparable category of these verbs. This group of verbs is composed of two or three words that always sit next to each other. And, unlike separable phrasal verbs, their parts cannot be distanced in a sentence.

 Some common inseparable phrasal verbs are “break up” and “catch up”. “Break up” means “the end of a relationship” while “catch up” means “to reach or contact a person”. An example of the way these verbs are used can be seen in the sentences below:

  1. She broke up with John.
  2. I caught up with him after two years.

As it can be noticed in the examples above, inseparable phrasal verbs keep their parts close together.


in daily English conversations it is very common for the speakers to use either separable or inseparable phrasal verbs of English in their speaking or writing. These types of grammatical structures, which usually contain a two- or three-word structure, are composed of one verb while their other parts mainly belong to non-verb grammatical category.

Some of the most common phrasal verbs in English, that were mentioned, are used daily by native speakers. Learning these phrasal verbs and their structures is really beneficial for English language learners.


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