1. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I don't even know what this is called but word order?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Tenderiser, Sep 7, 2016.

    I don't know what these words are, but is there a certain order you put them in? E.g., which is correct:

    I took off my coat.
    I took my coat off.

    I wanted to try out that method.
    I wanted to try that method out.

    Are they prepositions and this is that thing about not ending a sentence with them? If so... am I right that it's one of those rules that isn't really a rule but a lot of people think it is?
     
  2. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see your confusion (and feel it, too).

    I ran across this pearl of wisdom (here): If it has an object, it’s a preposition, if it doesn’t, it’s an adverb. But... I'm still confused because I thought it was the other way around.

    I also came across this which seems to contradict the first reference... unless I'm just not reading it right. (sigh)

    This is one of those cases where Google isn't your best friend. When are those bastards going to start taking some responsibility and weeded out hits that are clearly wrong???!!! o_O When they do, I sure hope they have someone who understands English better than me. Until then, colour me baffled. :confused:
    :confused:
     
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  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    These are phrasal verbs. They are technically one thing - [try out], [took off] - but they are made confusing in that they are, as in the examples, often separable.
     
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  4. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    But if that's the case, wouldn't 'out' and 'off' technically be adverbs?
     
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  5. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    So are both ways correct, and it's a preference thing?
    Yep, I did try to Google but it's hard when I don't even know what to call them :D
     
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  6. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah... I should have underlined and bolded and italicized "isn't." :)
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes.... But they aren't usually referred to as such, in that a) the majority of phrasal verbs are constructed of a verb + preposition, and more importantly b) some phrasal verbs are hard to reconcile as having an adverbial portion that conditions the verb in a way that intuitively arrives at the complete idea. For example...

    You need to cool down. You're too hot-tempered.

    Easy enough, right? Down gives us a figurative direction that the person's temper is being asked to take. That feels cleanly adverbial. But...

    I need to make up the exam. Here's my sick-note from the doctor.

    In this case, up doesn't really condition the verb in a way that's logical. We just know that the two words together mean getting a second change to do the exam.
     
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  8. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    The terms and rules of grammar change all the time (for instance: I don't remember using the term 'phrasal verbs' but it sounds right to me), or so I'm told, but I still remember a lot of what I learned in college. Those are prepositional phrases (in your illustration) and a preposition is usually followed by an object. The first sentence in your couplets ^^ is correct, or should I say most proper? But, imo, what's proper is not always what's 'best' for context.
     
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  9. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unless it's You need to cool it. Then all bets are off. ;)

    But this is a type of shorthand, isn't it? If written in full, it would be:

    I need to make up for the fact that I didn't write the exam.

    Perhaps that would shed more light on which parts of speech are in play?
     
  10. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    I was trying to think of a term that seems unfamiliar to me. 'Modifier' is the word my granddaughter uses for adjectives and adverbs (I think). This will probably age me, but we didn't use that term.

    We diagramed sentences, which I thought was fascinating. Subject, verb, adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, etc. I loved the heck out of it. :)
     
  11. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    Yeah, if you use 'up' at the end of the sentence it could be a completely different thought. That's a good example.
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, no. In your example we have a standard verb + object that just feels like a phrasal verb because was use cool in so many little figurative phrases. It is the object.

    Notice, though, in your example, make up is still doing the same job and imparting the same idea that neither make or up really add up to. Some phrasal verbs are just like that, in that they create a more abstracted concept than the cool down example.
     
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  13. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah, well. Even though I've demonstrated my ignorance, I still feel confident that I can use the heck out of the English language. ;)

    And I have to say that this is the first time I've ever seen the term 'phrasal verb.' Until the spell-checker neglected to underline it in red, I wasn't even sure 'phrasal' was a word. :)
     
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  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Precisely. Not all phrasal verbs can be separated and keep the same meaning or keep any meaning at all.

    Also, modifier is the usual term used (that I learned in grade school) and conditioner is the term more often used in linguistics. As for prepositional phrases, yes, they often connect directly to what is obviously the direct or indirect object, but not always. When I earlier said: But they aren't usually referred to as such, in that a) the majority of phrasal verbs are constructed of a verb + preposition, and more importantly... There are two prepositional phrases in that categorical statement, neither of which denotes any object.

    So, yes, but not always. :)
     
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  15. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    This is exactly what I was thinking except not that I can use the heck out of it but that I love exploring it. I'll stick my neck out & be wrong for something really fun - English is that way. Unfortunately, I just don't do it enough. But I'm working on it!
     
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  16. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I was just using a phrasal verb of my own... or not. I'm still not clear on the concept, but I promise not to lose sleep over it. ;)
     
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  17. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    I don't understand all this 'phrasal verbs' m'larcky. All I know is when a sentence sounds wrong and when it sounds right. To me, the second choice out of each of @Tenderiser's examples sounds correct. The other two feel a tad awkward.
     
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  18. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    "Much to learn, you have." - Jedi Master Yoda- :supergrin:
     
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  19. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    So what would be an example of the "Don't end in a preposition" advice, if the ones in @Tenderiser OP aren't?

    Surely this is one, with the former being preferable?

    I took off my coat.
    I took my coat off.
     
  20. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Word order - I think the term you're looking for might be syntax.
    As in 'What's the correct syntax?'
     
  21. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    That's how I feel, but an editor changes all of them to the first construction. I'm accepting all the changes (I'm not precious about word order) but I'd like to understand what I'm doing wrong and if it's actually wrong or just preference.
     
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  22. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't seem to know any English language rules, but the "I took my coat off" would feel like you didn't quite finish the statement, such as 'I took my coat off the hook as I left.' However to me both sound perfectly acceptable, whereas Sack-a-Doo's "I need to make up for the fact that I didn't write the exam." really changes everything about the statement to me, sounds more like the teacher writing the exam rather than the student, must be a Canadian thing.
     
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  23. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like phrasal verbs. The French don't have them. Also, I can never think of one when I need one. But, one element - for them to be 'phrasal verbs' is for the meaning to be completely changed by the combination - chill/chill out? Is that correct? [No, I researched - https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/phrasal-verbs-list.htm]

    Then I get this old duffer twitch - that 'phrasal verbs' are simply a cod invention of the psychology/sociology/witchcraft blend that launched craft-science of TEFL thirty years ago. I'm sure that's just prejudice.

    As for OP's word order, I'd recommend author strides with more swagger, and less fear.
     
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  24. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is the argument I've often heard. If you took it off, you took it off of something else.

    But having grown up in small-town Nova Scotia, everybody spoke like that. It was only the teachers who gave us a hard time about it (not parents; they talked like that, too) and we just thought the teachers were being pedantic... not that we used that word. Didn't learn that one until much later.
     
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  25. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well this is the thing, isn't it? I'd say it's fine, nay important, to have people speak normally. If your character would speak in prepositions (as most of us do) then use them, but maybe only use them in dialogue.
     
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