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    #11

    Re: Rule/Heuristic for Distinguishing Separable and Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs?

    I believe there are some rules.

    I think that the term 'separable' is generally understood to mean 'separable by an object'. If agreed, there's an obvious rule that intransitive verbs are inseparable.

    When it comes to interesting examples such as in post #2

    She got over her illness.

    I see over as the head of a preposition phrase over her illness, and not as a particle of get, (if particles are adverbial by nature). I myself do not deem got over to be a true phrasal verb in the pure sense, though it seems many people do.

    In the example

    The plane took slowly off.

    both slowly and off are adverbial. This is why it is grammatical (if unnatural) to separate the particle (off) from the verb.

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    #12

    Re: Rule/Heuristic for Distinguishing Separable and Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs?

    How does one distinguish between "a true phrasal verb in the pure sense" and a phrasal verb that is not true in the pure sense?

    In this thread
    above, there is an example of the "walk past" as a phrasal verb, which takes no object, and is separable (walk quickly past).

    It seem that
    "walk past" is not a phrasal verb in the true sense; I would say simply it is not a phrasal verb, arguing by analogy as follows: a phrasal verb differs from a verb - preposition collocation. "Look at" is a collocation because the meaning does not change.

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    #13

    Re: Rule/Heuristic for Distinguishing Separable and Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs?

    A search of https://www.usingenglish.com/referen...l-verbs/w.html shows that "walk past" is not a phrasal verb.

    Because "walk past" is not a phrasal verb, the rule still holds until a counter-example can be given:

    Phrasal Verb Rule 1: All intransitive phrasal verbs are inseparable

    (based on the meaning of intransitive: "If they have no object, there is nothing to separate").

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    #14

    Re: Rule/Heuristic for Distinguishing Separable and Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leslie1 View Post
    How does one distinguish between "a true phrasal verb in the pure sense" and a phrasal verb that is not true in the pure sense?
    I suppose just by defining very closely what is meant. When I state "All intransitive phrasal verbs are inseparable," I'm defining the term 'inseparable' to mean, more precisely, inseparable by an object. Only now is the statement really true by definition. Since my own definition of ''a phrasal verb in the pure sense'' requires that it consist of a verb and an adverbial particle, (never a preposition), the verb and particle may be separable by another adverbial. This is then also true by definition. (In this case, my definition -- not everyone would agree with me!)

    Another thing to point out is that one should be careful when declaring any piece of language as belonging to a certain class, without grammatical context. Always analyse the language in use, in context (as part of a meaningful sentence.) The past in to walk past could be either adverbial or adjectival, depending on the context.

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    #15

    Re: Rule/Heuristic for Distinguishing Separable and Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs?

    A serious problem in any discussion of phrasal verbs is that there is no universal agreement on which verb + adverb/preposition/particle combinations are phrasal verbs and which are not.

    My views on this are here.

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    #16

    Re: Rule/Heuristic for Distinguishing Separable and Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs?

    Piscean - Your clear presentation explains well the differences in such a fuzzy area. I hope you will allow me to share my views.

    I disagree that it's useful to class 1.1 and 1.2 as phrasal verbs or multi-word verbs since only one of the elements is a verb, the other being a preposition phrase. If learners analysed in this way, there would be no need to introduce the misleading idea of inseparability -- the word order follows the normal pattern, i.e., the preposition appears only at the beginning of the preposition phrase, which comes after the verb. (For similar reasons, I don't accept 1.6 as a class, either.)

    There is nothing unusual or especially difficult about the grammar of these patterns, which is often, unfortunately, the idea that learners get from how it is explained in text books.

    It seems to me that this may be one way in which a lexical approach (phrasal verbs being high-frequency lexical 'chunks') conflicts with a grammatical approach, in that multi-word verbs are presented ungrammaticised.
    Last edited by jutfrank; 16-Mar-2017 at 02:48.

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    #17

    Re: Rule/Heuristic for Distinguishing Separable and Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leslie1 View Post
    A search of https://www.usingenglish.com/referen...l-verbs/w.html shows that "walk past" is not a phrasal verb.

    Because "walk past" is not a phrasal verb, the rule still holds until a counter-example can be given:

    Phrasal Verb Rule 1: All intransitive phrasal verbs are inseparable

    (based on the meaning of intransitive: "If they have no object, there is nothing to separate").
    Firstly, the list is not definitive- there is no such thing. It is a work in progress and the fact that a verb is not there does not mean that the verb does not exist. Walk past is not a phrasal verb to me because there is no idiomatic meaning to it. For the purposes of the list, we generally take a generous definition of the term and would allow verbs that greater purists might not allow, but I would not include it simply on the grounds that walk + past do not combine to a meaning that the dictionary definitions of the individual words do not cover.

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    #18

    Re: Rule/Heuristic for Distinguishing Separable and Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs?

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I hope you will allow me to share my views.
    I am always interested to read your views.

    Unfortunately, I shan't have time to think about them properly or respond for a couple of days. I shall be making my way back from Arizona/Utah to cooler climes.

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    #19

    Re: Rule/Heuristic for Distinguishing Separable and Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs?

    Yes, of course, I agree, walk past is not a phrasal verb because there is not an idiomatic meaning to it, which could be defined as (tongue-in-cheek) the sum of the parts does not equal the whole-- one knows what "walk" means, one knows what "past" means, one automatically knows what "walk past" means (the sum of the parts equals the whole); one knows what "eat" means, one knows what "out" means, one does not automatically know what "eat out" means (the sum of the parts doe not equal the whole).


    So what does an editor think--is there or is there not a rule for distinguishing separable and non-separable verbs?

    I think there are two points of inquiry.
    1. If the phrasal verb is inseparable, is it intransitive?
    No, e.g. Call on. The teacher called on me. Call on takes an object. It is inseparable.
    Come across. I thought I came across a rule. Came across takes an object. It is inseparable.

    Question -- is this a direct object? No, it is an object of the preposition? So does the notion of intransitive apply here?

    2. If the phrasal verb is intransitive, is it inseparable? Yes, by definition.
    3. If it is separable, it must be transitive. Call up. I called her up. I called up Mary.

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    #20

    Re: Rule/Heuristic for Distinguishing Separable and Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs?

    3, however, does not take into account inseparable transitive verbs, so I am not sure what the conclusion would be. If it is inseparable, it may be intransitive. How does that distinguish anything? This may be further complicated by finding optionally separable verbs in context. I don't see how the rule that can be synthesised would lead to a greater understanding. Transitive verbs may be separable, inseparable or optionally separable, with restrictions when pronouns are used. Given this, then I don't see that separability is a great tool for distinguishing transitive verbs from intransitive ones. It will work in some cases, but it is far from universal.

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