Common Phrasal Verbs with ‘Off'
Today, we are going to talk about phrasal verbs.
You may remember that a phrasal verb is a verb plus one or two more words called "particles." Particles can be prepositions or adverbs. There are several common particles in phrasal verbs, such as the word "off." One example of a phrasal verb is "go off."
Phrasal verbs usually have idiomatic meanings. In other words, the verb and particle together mean something different from what each individual word suggests.
The phrasal verb "go off," for instance, is made of the verb "go" and the particle "off." But "go off" can mean to make a sudden loud noise.
动词短语“go off”是由动词“go”和小品词“off”组成的。但“go off”可以表示突发巨响的意思。
The English language contains a lot of phrasal verbs. Luckily, you do not need to know all of them. Some are more common than others.
A listening exercise
On today's Everyday Grammar program, we will talk about four common phrasal verbs with the word "off." They are "go off," "put off" "drop off" and "pay off." As you will learn today, some of these verbs can be separated by other words. Others cannot.
在今天的《每日语法》节目中，我们会聊一些带有“off”的常见动词短语，即go off、put off和pay off。这几个短语中，有的短语中间可以插入其他词，有的则不能。
Let's do a short listening exercise.
Listen to this speaker talk about starting his day. Pay attention to the four phrasal verbs with "off" and make a mental note that some are separated by other words:
This morning, as my alarm went off, I remembered that I have a few important things to do today. It has been a busy week, but I can't put these tasks off any longer. First, I have to drop some donations off at local food banks. Then, I am going to pay off my car loan. I am so excited to make the final payment!
Did you catch all four verbs? And did notice that some were separated by other words while others were not? Good.
Now, let's examine meanings for each verb and talk about how to use them. Note that each of today's verbs has more than one meaning; we will focus on the meanings used in the listening exercise.
Go off (intransitive verb)
The verb "go off" means to make a sudden loud noise. We use this meaning in relation to alarms on machines or electronics, such as an alarm clock or a phone alarm or fire alarm.
Listen again to how our speaker used it:
This morning, as my alarm went off, I remembered that I have a few important things to do today.
Notice that the speaker used the simple past tense form of the verb "go," which is "went."
Go off is what we call an intransitive verb.
Transitive or intransitive
Phrasal verbs in English are either transitive or intransitive.
A transitive verb needs a direct object to express a complete thought. A direct object is a person or thing that receives the action of the verb.
Intransitive verbs, such as "go off," do not have a direct object. And they are not separable. That means, in sentences, we cannot separate them with other words.
But, transitive phrasal verbs can be separable or inseparable. That means you can put the direct object in the middle of the verb or after it.
Put off (something)
Put (something) off
A good example of a transitive and separable phrasal verb is "put off." It means to delay something or decide it will happen at a later time.
Here is how our speaker used it:
It has been a busy week but I can't put these tasks off any longer.
Can you find the direct object in the sentence? It is "these tasks." Notice that this object appears in the middle of the verb.
Again, with separable phrasal verbs, direct objects can appear after the verb. So how would the sentence read then? Think about it as we move to our next verb.
Drop off (something)
Drop (something) off
Next up is the verb "drop off." It means to take something or someone to a place and then leave. This verb is also transitive and separable.
Here is how our speaker used it a moment ago:
First, I have to drop some donations off at local food banks.
Notice that the speaker separated the verb "drop off" by the direct object "some donations."
注意，说话者用直接宾语“some donations”把动词短语“drop off”分开。
Since it is possible to put the direct object after this verb, let's hear how that would sound:
First, I have to drop off some donations at local food banks.
Both ways of using separable phrasal verbs are common and grammatically correct. And there is no change in meaning.
Pay off (something)
Pay (something) off
Finally, we have the verb "pay off." It means to complete payment on something that you owe, such as a bill or a loan. This verb, too, is transitive and separable.
Do you remember how it was used? The speaker talked about his car loan. Here is what he said:
Then, I am going to pay off my car loan. I am so excited to make the final payment!
The speaker did not separate the verb with the direct object. However, if he had put the object in the middle, how would the sentence read then? Think about it for a moment.
Well, that brings us to the end of today's program.
Phrasal verbs can be difficult, but often their particles provide clues to their meanings. For example, many phrasal verbs with the particle "off" relate to separating, completing or ending something.
I'm Alice Bryant.