Phrasal Verbs and Prepositional Verbs – Differences
What do Phrasal and Prepositional Verbs have in common and what are the differences?
Two-word verbs can be Phrasal Verbs or Prepositional Verb.
Phrasal Verbs often have a very different (idiomatic) meaning.
- verb: look
- adverb: in
- Phrasal Verb: look in
1. What is the difference between a preposition and an adverb and why this distinction is important.
An object can go before or after an adverb – but it can only go after a preposition. So:
- Phrasal Verbs can be separated
- Prepositional Verbs must not be separated.
1.1. Phrasal Verbs
- correct: verb + object + adverb → I switch the computer on.
- correct: verb adverb + object → I switched on the computer.
1.2. Prepositional Verbs
- correct: verb + preposition + object → The cat jumped on the computer.
- incorrect: verb + object + preposition → The cat jumped the computer on.
Note: Some adverbs can be also used as a preposition. You should use a good dictionary to find out whether the word is an adverb or a preposition. We decided to put Phrasal and Prepositional Verbs in one list.