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  1. #1
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
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    Default crash into, squeeze in - are they phrasal verbs?

    Hello,

    I've always found it diffucult to identify what verbs followed by prepositions should be classed as "true" phrasal verbs. There's a short text in my book followed by a task asking to underline all the phrasal verbs. According to the key, they are (in bold):

    .... The plane took off and landed on time, and our baggage didn't get lost. The nightmare began when we flagged down a taxi. After we agreed on the fare, we got in the car and set off towards the city centre. The guy was doing 130 mps so it was no surprise that five minutes later he crashed into the back of a lorry .... He said that we had to get out and that he couldn't take us any further. ... His friend, who was on his way into the city, picked us up. He had a full taxi, so we were asked to squeeze in anyway. We finally made it into the city centre, and not surprisingly, the driver dropped us off at the wrong hotel.

    I don't understand why get in / out are treated as phrasal verbs here and set off isn't! What about crash into and squeeze in? Are they ordinary verbs with prepositions?

    I'd be grateful for comments.
    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: crash into, squeeze in - are they phrasal verbs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Hello,

    I've always found it diffucult to identify what verbs followed by prepositions should be classed as "true" phrasal verbs. There's a short text in my book followed by a task asking to underline all the phrasal verbs. According to the key, they are (in bold):

    .... The plane took off and landed on time, and our baggage didn't get lost. The nightmare began when we flagged down a taxi. After we agreed on the fare, we got in the car and set off towards the city centre. The guy was doing 130 mps so it was no surprise that five minutes later he crashed into the back of a lorry .... He said that we had to get out and that he couldn't take us any further. ... His friend, who was on his way into the city, picked us up. He had a full taxi, so we were asked to squeeze in anyway. We finally made it into the city centre, and not surprisingly, the driver dropped us off at the wrong hotel.

    I don't understand why get in / out are treated as phrasal verbs here and set off isn't! What about cash into and squeeze in? Are they ordinary verbs with prepositions?

    I'd be grateful for comments.
    Thank you.
    A rather simplistic view of a phrasal verb is that it's a situation where the addition of a preposition completely changes the meaning of the verb from what it would be if the verb were on its own.

    "Crash into" is not a phrasal verb because it's simply extra information tacked on to the word "crash". It explains what something collided with. The meaning of "crash" isn't changed.

    "Get in/out" are phrasal verbs because the verb "to get" means "to obtain" or "to become". However, when joined to "in/out" suddenly the whole phrasal verb means "to enter/exit". The usual meaning of "get" is no longer important.

    "To take off" (which has several meanings) works the same way. "To take" - well, I'm sure you know the meaning of the verb on its own. However, add "off" and suddenly the whole phrasal verb means either to ascend from the ground (a plane) or to remove (clothing) or to do an impression of someone.

    In my opinion, "to set off" is a phrasal verb. "To set" means "to solidify" or "to put". However, "to set off" means to start the journey, or to complement. Again, the basic meaning of "to set" has nothing to do with the meaning of the phrasal verb.

  3. #3
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: crash into, squeeze in - are they phrasal verbs?

    Thanks, emsr2d2! It's really complicated. Macmillan doesn't list 'get in/out' as a phrasal verb, but, for example, Longman does. It also classes 'put down' in 'she put the newspaper down" as a phrasal verb. I don't think the addition of 'down' made the meaning 'unguessable', so it is a really simplistic view indeed.

    So, if understand you correctly, you would regard 'set off' as a phrasal verb, and 'squeeze in' and 'crash into' as prepositional ones?

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: crash into, squeeze in - are they phrasal verbs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Thanks, emsr2d2! It's really complicated. Macmillan doesn't list 'get in/out' as a phrasal verb, but, for example, Longman does. It also classes 'put down' in 'she put the newspaper down" as a phrasal verb. I don't think the addition of 'down' made the meaning 'unguessable', so it is a really simplistic view indeed.

    So, if understand you correctly, you would regard 'set off' as a phrasal verb, and 'squeeze in' and 'crash into' as prepositional ones?
    I'm torn with "squeeze in", to be honest. "To squeeze" is an active verb where the doer uses their hands. To "squeeze in" means to put yourself into a small space. However, the basic premise of "squeeze" is still there. I really don't know whether it's a phrasal verb or not.

    "To put down" with regard to the newspaper is a bit vague too. If she put the newspaper on the table in a downward direction then I would say it's more prepostional. However "to put down" also means "to euthanise" and in that context it's most certainly a phrasal verb. It also means "to humiliate or criticise" - again, a phrasal verb. Also "to attribute [to]" - again, it's a phrasal verb.

    It's not an easy topic and a lot of the examples you do just need to learn!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: crash into, squeeze in - are they phrasal verbs?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    It's not an easy topic and a lot of the examples you do just need to learn!
    I agree. It is not helped by the fact that many authorities disagree about which verbs are phrasal verbs, as you can see from pages 12-13 here: http://www.gramorak.com/Articles/Phrasal.pdf

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