Intransitive, Never Separable
Some verb phrases are intransitive which means that they cannot take a direct object. These verbs can never be separated from the preposition.
1. Sean began to catch on after he read the directions several times. (“Directions” is the direct object of the verb- read, not the object of the verb “catch on.”)
2. Sean began to catch on to the directions. (“Directions” is the object of the preposition to, it is not the direct object of the sentence.
The following chart is a brief list of intransitive, inseparable phrases and several of their meanings. By no means is this a complete list.
|back down||retreat from a position in an argument, to go down something backwards|
|come through||succeed, to be approved, to produce or perform as promised for someone or a group, to survive something|
|drop in||to stop by for a casual or unexpected visit|
|fall behind||to lag behind schedule, to lag behind someone or something|
|pick on||to harass or bother someone or something usually unfairly|
|show off||boast by words or actions|
|watch out||to keep looking for someone or something, be careful|
Caution: Mastering the use of phrasal verbs can be a difficult challenge and very overwhelming. A lot of time, dedication and motivation is required! A good method for learning how to use phrasal verbs correctly involves extensive listening and reading of the everyday English language that you are exposed to. And of course, it is always a good idea to carry a good dictionary, which can help in almost any difficult situation that arises.
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