Saturday, March 8, 2003
W O R D   P O W E R

ODAY, another exciting date with phrasal verbs, the meaning demarcators. However, the contextualised meaning itself starts with literal expression and moves on to increasing degrees of idiomatic meaning e.g. The angry man broke the door down (literal). Negotiations have broken down between the management and the workers (figurative). Also, they function like synonyms inasmuch that they can be replaced by a word or phrase which is similar in meaning e.g. keep on — continue; call off — cancel.

Another distinctive characteristic is that they may have several meanings. e.g. make somebody out — (i) understand somebody’s character, (ii) manage to see somebody. A major development in contemporary English is the process of nominalisation e.g.a-fly-now-pay-later scheme. Phrasal verbs are also being used to create new noun phrases and add to the existing stock, so to say e.g. a get-away car, a follow-up, a breakthrough. Ready for some fun exercises now?

I Choose from the given phrasal verbs to replace the words in brackets in the following sentences: Put up, come into, turn down, fall out, look out, come apart, give out, break up.


1. Oh, Satbir, could you ——— (distribute) the books please.

2. Arun and Ashok have ——— (quarrelled) again.

3. Many things are so badly made nowadays that they often ——— (break into pieces) after only a few weeks.

4. ——— ! (Be careful!) There’s a car coming.

5. The meeting was a very long one and didn’t ——— (finish) until 4.30 p.m.

6. Simran, do you think you could ——— me ——— for the night? It’s bit too late to go home now. (provide food and accommodation).

7. When Leela’s grandfather died she ——— (inherit) quite a lot of money.

8. Noorveer was offered a job in Mumbai but he ——— it ——— (reject or refuse to consider an offer, a proposal, etc) because he didn’t want to move away from Chandigarh.

II Match the following phrasal verbs with their given meaning.

Phrasal verbs

1. get round someone

2. get someone round

3. see through someone

4. see someone through

5. get over something

6. get something over

7. look up to somebody

8. look somebody up.


(a) Recognise someone’s deception

(b) Visit or contact somebody especially after not having seen him/her for a long time.

(c) Recover from a shock or unpleasant surprise.

(d) Admire or respect somebody.

(e) Call or summon someone to come to one’s house, etc.

(f) Complete something necessary and often unpleasant.

(g) Help someone through a difficult time.

(h) Persuade or coax someone.

Answer key

I 1 - give out

2 - fallen out

3 - come apart

4 - look out !

5 - break up

6 - put up

7 - came into

8 - turned down

II 1 - h

2 - e

3 - a

4 - g

5 - c

6 - f

7 - d

8 - b

— Brinder Aulakh