Idiomatic Verbs

May 22, 2021

You learned about phrasal verbs in Verbs Module Lesson 12.Definition: Phrasal verbs, also called idiomatic verbs or two-word verbs, are made up of a verb and one or more prepositions. The preposition in an phrasal verb is called a particle. This is because the preposition is not being used to show a relationship such as time, place, or direction; it is just there because that is the way we speak.

If you wake up in the morning, is there anything up about how you wake? If you tell someone to shut up (which we know is rude), what up are they supposed to shut?


Please fill out these forms so I can find out more about you.
If you fall behind in your homework, your parents will hear from your teacher.
If you blow up at your friends, it makes it harder to get along with them.

It is important to be able to tell the difference in the ways prepositions are used.

  • Verb with an adverb:We looked up at the sky to see the meteor shower.
    As we were racing, James fell behind.
  • Verb with a prepositional phrase:We looked up the road to see if the car was coming.
    James fell behind the couch.
  • Idiomatic verb:We looked up the definition of that word in the dictionary.
    James fell behind in his schoolwork.

Hint:If you ask what after the word and get an answer, it’s a preposition.