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  1. #1
    Sibx is offline Newbie
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    Default Figurative Use of Phrasal Verbs.

    I'd like to know if the figurative use of certain phrasal verbs is grammatically and linguistically correct if it makes sense in the context it's used in. Example: "Being spat out into the whirlwind of a new city has been frightening"

    Now, the literal meaning of "spit something out" is
    1)Force something out of your mouth.
    2)Say something angrily.

    Neither of these two meanings is implied in my example, does it still make sense, or is it incorrect? Is it okay to stretch the meaning of words and phrases like this? Because isn't that what a lot of writers do.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Figurative Use of Phrasal Verbs.

    It only makes sense as a metaphor if you are in some way "spat out" into the city, for example it wasn't your choice to go there, but your boss sent you with no preparation. In what way were you "spat out" into the city?

  3. #3
    Sibx is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Figurative Use of Phrasal Verbs.

    Yes, in that way more or less.
    As in, I wasn't prepared for that change and wasn't expecting it but all of a sudden I had to leave the comfort of my own city and move to a new one because I had no other choice.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Figurative Use of Phrasal Verbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sibx View Post
    Yes, in that way more or less.
    As in, I wasn't prepared for that change and wasn't expecting it but all of a sudden I had to leave the comfort of my own city and move to a new one because I had no other choice.
    Yes, you could use it.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Figurative Use of Phrasal Verbs.

    The sentence could work, but does the wider context explain who/what spat you out?

  6. #6
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Figurative Use of Phrasal Verbs.

    That analogy doesn't work for me unless the boss was eating him.

  7. #7
    Sibx is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Figurative Use of Phrasal Verbs.

    If the boss were eating him spitting out would imply a literal meaning, which is why I'm specifically asking about the figurative or metaphorical implication of the phrase.

  8. #8
    Sibx is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Figurative Use of Phrasal Verbs.

    In the wider context, my job spat me out into the whirlwind of a new city, say against my will. Reading back over my example sentence, I'm thinking a better version would be "Having been spat out....."

  9. #9
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Figurative Use of Phrasal Verbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    That analogy doesn't work for me unless the boss was eating him.
    You can be spat out into a city from a plane or train. We're talking about metaphors.
    I admit this is probably not the best metaphor, but it's not my writing, and I'm not judging its literary merit. In the right context, it's an appropriate metaphor.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Figurative Use of Phrasal Verbs.

    I suppose someone who has spent a long time in prison and is suddenly released without any suitable preparation for life back in the "real" world could be said to have been "spat out" into the world.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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