Departmental Bulletin Paper An Approach to Phrasal Verbs

FUKUDA, Michiyo

 Native speakers of English prefer using blow out, come in, get around, instead of extinguish, enter, circumvent in conversation. These are called phrasal verbs, which are remarkable features from the second half of the eighteenth century(1). Smith (1933, p. 172) adopted the term“phrasal verb” in the twentieth century(2). I adopt the term phrasal verb from Smith purely for convenience. Other grammarians’terms would serve just as well: Henry Sweet’s “group-verb” (A New English Grammar, § 256), Kruisinga’s “compound verb”(A Handbook of Present-day English, §§ 2204-2211), or Arthur Kennedy’s “verbal combination” (Current English, p. 299).   During the latter half of the twentieth century, combinations of verbs with adverbs or prepositions were widely studied by many linguists, and now the term “phrasal verbs” is commonly and generally used for these collocations. The bounds of phrasal verbs are defined by meaning, function, or form. It is predicted that a linguistic entity such as the phrasal verb cannot be confined within clear bounds.

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