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  1. #1
    purecopper is offline Newbie
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    Default What are basic meanings for preparation words off,out,down,"about

    What are basic meanings for preparation words “off”,”out”,”down”,”about”in short verb phrases.
    Absolutely, we can get definition from dictionary. Those definitions are perfect accurate to make sense but don’t help us a lot to understand,just like a native speaker.
    For instance, look at this sentence “Jack wants them to believe he was twenty-one,but he didn’t carry it off.”
    Looked up dictionary, I learnt what is meaning for “carry it off”, but why we use “off” following after “carry”? What is meaning here for “off”. Another example is “show off”, every one knows the meaning but why using “off”?
    There was once I saw a video in which there a English teacher explained meaning of“up”. He gave the three simple definition for it.
    1>increase;
    2>movement;
    3>complete.
    Then I found it gave me well basic sense to understand such as “bring up”, ”come up”, “show up” ,those kind of short verb phrases.
    So I hope this is a good example for you to give me simple and basic meanings for above preparations.
    You may not be able to give explanations for all above preparations, just do as much as you can or you want. I will appreciate your help .And please don't forget“the simple is the better.” I want to see no dictionary like explanations in your post.
    Last edited by purecopper; 28-Jun-2009 at 07:35.

  2. #2
    Offroad's Avatar
    Offroad is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: What are basic meanings for preparation words off,out,down,"about

    Quote Originally Posted by purecopper View Post
    Looked up dictionary, I learnt what is meaning for “carry it off”, but why we use “off” following after “carry”? What is meaning here for “off”. Another example is “show off”, every one knows the meaning but why using “off”?
    If I am not mistaken, your question is: "Why do people use phrasal verbs?"

    hmm...

    let me think...

    nothing... :(

    teachers?

  3. #3
    purecopper is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: What are basic meanings for preparation words off,out,down,"about

    Quote Originally Posted by marciobarbalho View Post
    If I am not mistaken, your question is: "Why do people use phrasal verbs?"

    hmm...

    let me think...

    nothing... :(

    teachers?
    Your definition might not be perfect,but it really help us to learn what the first thought come up with in your mind as a native speaker.
    Last edited by purecopper; 28-Jun-2009 at 16:12.

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: What are basic meanings for preparation words off,out,down,"about

    Quote Originally Posted by marciobarbalho View Post
    If I am not mistaken, your question is: "Why do people use phrasal verbs?"

    hmm...

    let me think...

    nothing... :(

    teachers?
    That's exactly the right question to ask, and I'm afraid the answer is just 'Because we do'. Phrasal verbs are very hard for students to get used to if their language doesn't have them. English, with its Germanic root, does - lots. (There's one in this paragraph - see if you can spot it. The answer's at the bottom of this post.)

    You can't just take part of a phrasal verb and ask 'what does this bit mean? Taking just the preposition 'off', in 'take the top off the jar' it's obvious what 'off' means. But in 'The plane took off' the 'off'ness is less clear; and in 'The schoolboy took off the headmaster' there's no 'basic meaning' of 'off'. Tdol made a list of prepositions that occur repeatedly in phrasal verbs - and a handful (5 or 6, I think) crop up [there's another one] in more than a hundred. I'll try to find it.

    (Ans: 'get used to')

    b

  5. #5
    Offroad's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are basic meanings for preparation words off,out,down,"about

    Thanks Bob, I think our dear PureCopper did not get the meaning of my answer.

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are basic meanings for preparation words off,out,down,"about

    Here's Tdol's list - http://www.usingenglish.com/profiles...es/000360.html . UE's database of phrasal verbs could be bigger, but as his intro says it has nearly two thousand. And only 6 particles are included in over a hundred of them - 'up', in fact, is included in well over 300. 'Up' couldn't have the same 'basic meaning' in all 344; and that doesn't take into account the multiple meanings it can have in conjunction with just one lexical verb. Look in a dictionary - you'll find that 'pick* up' can have over a dozen meanings.

    b

    * Originally said 'take'. The same might be true of 'take up', but I'm sure it's true of 'pick up' - because when I did my CELTA we went round the table (I think there were 14 of us) thinking of separate meanings.
    Last edited by BobK; 28-Jun-2009 at 23:20. Reason: Corrected "take" to "pick"

  7. #7
    purecopper is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: What are basic meanings for preparation words off,out,down,"about

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    That's exactly the right question to ask, and I'm afraid the answer is just 'Because we do'. Phrasal verbs are very hard for students to get used to if their language doesn't have them. English, with its Germanic root, does - lots. (There's one in this paragraph - see if you can spot it. The answer's at the bottom of this post.)

    You can't just take part of a phrasal verb and ask 'what does this bit mean? Taking just the preposition 'off', in 'take the top off the jar' it's obvious what 'off' means. But in 'The plane took off' the 'off'ness is less clear; and in 'The schoolboy took off the headmaster' there's no 'basic meaning' of 'off'. Tdol made a list of prepositions that occur repeatedly in phrasal verbs - and a handful (5 or 6, I think) crop up [there's another one] in more than a hundred. I'll try to find it.

    (Ans: 'get used to')

    b
    I got your point. In my mother language ,we come into the pretty similar situation, most of phrasal verbs have explanations but hard to say. large people know how to use them but don't know where those phrasal verbs come from. It is amazing.
    Last edited by purecopper; 28-Jun-2009 at 23:22.

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