125
Chapter 2: Simple Patterns with Prepositions and Adverbs
1 V prep/adv, V adv/prep
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with a variety of prepositions, or an adverb group. Some verbs listed here are also included in sections relating to verbs followed by specific prepositions.

Here we treat all verbs with this pattern as having one structure:

  • Verb with Adjunct
    He ran across the road.

Some verbs with some prepositions have other structures, however. For example, some prepositional phrases beginning with into are prepositional Objects and some prepositional phrases beginning with as are prepositional Complements.

Most verbs in English can be followed by Adjuncts of manner, time, or place. When information about manner, time, or place is not essential, the Adjunct is not part of the pattern. The verbs dealt with below are those which are always or typically followed by an Adjunct.

V prep/adv, V adv/prep
  Verb groupprep. phrase/adverb group  
SubjectVerbAdjunctAdjunct (optional)
Ibehavedvery stupidly.  
Ilivedtherefor ten years.
Herandown the path.  
Phrasal verbs: V P prep/adv, V P adv/prep
  Verb groupParticleprep. phrase/adverb group
SubjectVerb   Adjunct
Everythingis comingalongnicely.
Hehad movedonto Poland.
126 Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:
1 The `go' group 8 The `turn' group 15 The `behave' group
2 The `wander' group 9 The `live' group 16 The `shape up' group
3 The `walk' group 10 The `face' group 17 The `come over' group
4 The `drive' group 11 The `echo' group 18 The `begin' and `end' group
5 The `flow' group 12 The `look' and `gesture' group 19 The `last' group
6 The `flock' group 13 The `search' group 20 The `breakfast' group
7 The `roar' group 14 The `lurch' group 21 Verbs with other meanings
1 The `go' group

These are general verbs concerned with moving, going, or arriving somewhere. This includes starting a journey e.g. set off.

  • Lee and I arrived in Panama City suffering terribly from jet lag.
  • Ron became so ill with worry that he ended up in hospital.
  • She didn't want to go home.
  • Mr Baker will go on to Tunisia tomorrow.
  • They plan to set off for Baghdad on Thursday.
arrive come continue get go journey move pass proceed return travel
end up finish up go on move on set off set out
2 The `wander' group

These verbs are concerned with movement or arrival of a more specific kind. This includes:

  • going in a particular direction e.g. advance, spiral, turn
  • going somewhere quickly or slowly e.g. drift, whizz
  • going somewhere in an enjoyable or unenjoyable way e.g. slog, swan
  • going somewhere for a reason or for no reason e.g. barnstorm, wander
  • becoming attached to something or detached from something e.g. screw, tear

We also include here drain, filter, percolate, and seep, which indicate that something abstract such as news goes somewhere.

  • The hairs are tipped by tiny sacs filled with a substance that sticks to any insect that alights on the leaf.
  • The Democrats barnstormed through the heartland in what appears to be a very successful campaign road trip.
  • They clambered over the low fence, shouting encouragement to each other.
  • Results from Ivory Coast's first free elections are beginning to filter through.
  • The camera screws onto a detachable plate.
  • I began to worry about rainstorm chills myself as I slogged up the sticky chalk track.
127 I grabbed a can of beer, pulled the tab and of course, the tab snapped off.
  • Turn right at the lights.
  • I was allowed to wander around quite freely.
  • He was passing the woods when a bullet of some sort whizzed past his ear.
    adhere advance adventure alight arc arch ascend barnstorm blow bob bounce brush buck bump burrow call careen cartwheel circle clamber climb come crawl creep cross curl dash dip dive dodge drain draw drift drop duck ease encroach fall feint filter fit flash flee flick flicker flit float flop flounder flutter fly fork gallivant glide go grovel head hike hurry inch jerk jink jolt jump land lash leap lock lodge loop meander migrate mosey navigate nestle nip nuzzle perch percolate pitch plunge poke pop promenade push ramble rampage range retreat ricochet roam roll rove rush sail sally schlep scorch scramble screw scud seep shift shoot shrink shuttle skitter slew slide slip slither slog snap snuggle soar speed spiral spread spring squeeze squirm stand start stray streak struggle swan sweep swerve swim swing swoop tear toil tootle trail traipse travel trek trespass trundle tumble tunnel turn twirl veer venture wade wander wash whip whirl whizz whoosh wing wobble wriggle zigzag zip zoom
beam down beam up branch off buzz off fall in fetch up land up pop off roll up strike out turn back
3 The `walk' group

These verbs are concerned with walking or running somewhere. This includes:

  • verbs indicating the speed of the movement e.g. amble, race
  • verbs indicating how gracefully or clumsily someone moves e.g. glide, stagger
  • verbs indicating the emotion or attitude of the person moving e.g. flounce, storm
  • verbs indicating that someone is trying not to be noticed e.g. slink, sneak
  • On the second floor, he raced down another corridor, rounded a sharp turn, and found himself facing a closed door.
  • We had to sneak out because it was after nine at night.
128 As the other officers pounced on the attacker, the injured policeman staggered into the street.
  • He stormed out of the apartment, slamming the door furiously behind him.
  • Mrs. Madrigal walked to the window, where she stood motionless.
amble belt blunder bolt bounce bound breeze burst bustle buzz canter caper charge chase clump crawl creep dance dart edge float flounce flutter fly gallop gambol glide hare hasten hobble hop jig leap limp lollop lope lumber lurch march mince pace pad parade pelt plod pound prance prowl race reel run sashay saunter scamper scoot scurry scuttle shamble shimmy shuffle sidle skip slide slink slip slope slouch sneak sprint stagger stalk stamp steal step stomp storm stride stroll strut stumble stump swagger sweep tear teeter tiptoe toddle totter tramp trip trot trudge twirl waddle walk waltz
4 The `drive' group

These verbs indicate that a form of transport, or someone using a form of transport, goes or arrives somewhere.

  • She slowed the cab to avoid an old Chevy sedan which was backing into a parking space.
  • A veterinary officer escaped injury when her jeep exploded and burst into flames as she was driving to work.
  • After the plane landed in Miami, the man surrendered peacefully.
  • Pete got on his bike and pedalled off.
  • Pull in here and let's have a look at the map.
  • She sailed from Sydney on her second New Guinea voyage on May 12.
accelerate back barrel bicycle bike bowl bucket bus call career coast cruise cycle dive draw drive fly freewheel glide grind hack hitchhike jet land motor navigate nose paddle parachute park pedal punt ride roll row sail skate ski swing tack taxi (An aircraft) terminate trundle voyage
pull in put in (A ship)
129
5 The `flow' group

These verbs indicate that a liquid, gas, or other substance goes somewhere. We include here verbs indicating that light, sound, or a signal goes somewhere, and the verb lick, which indicates that flames go somewhere.

  • Mahoney flung open the saloon door and black smoke billowed out.
  • The warming sound of Brian's laughter drifted through the window.
  • Blood is the vital substance that flows through the body, carrying oxygen and nutrients and removing waste materials from the tissues.
  • Flames were licking around the door to the toy shop.
  • The rain spattered on the uppermost leaves and dripped miserably from the lower.
  • Light was streaming into Dr Denny's office from the door connecting it to the waiting room.
beam billow bubble carry cascade collect course diffuse drain dribble drift drip drive eddy float flood flow funnel gush leak lick ooze percolate pour radiate run rush seep settle slop slosh sluice soak spatter spill splash spout spray spurt squirt stream surge swirl travel trickle waft
6 The `flock' group

These verbs indicate that a number of people, or sometimes things, go somewhere.

  • The jury filed out, silent, reverent.
  • The wild and beautiful west coast of Ireland has captured the imagination of Hollywood film directors as well the ordinary tourists who flock there.
  • Police swarmed into the area within moments and searched for other devices.
cluster dribble file flock flood flow gather huddle parade pour snake spill straggle stream surge swarm trickle troop
7 The `roar' group

These verbs are concerned with going somewhere in a way that makes a particular noise. The Subject can be a vehicle, person, animal, or thing, depending on the verb.

  • There was still a solitary fly buzzing around the classroom.
  • The rain pattered on the glass roof.
  • The jeep roared off.
  • He squelched through the mud and disappeared round the corner of a wall.
burble buzz chug clatter crash crunch gurgle patter plop purr rattle roar rumble scream screech slosh squelch swish thud thump thunder
130
8 The `turn' group

These verbs indicate that someone or something changes posture, arrangement, or orientation, but does not move from one place to another. This includes:

  • turning
  • reaching out
  • sitting down
  • falling over
  • His motorcycle fell on top of him.
  • Pat reached up and grasped one of the water pipes above his head.
  • Sylvia and I sat down on the bench by the fountain.
  • He turned away before the tears came again.
bend crane crouch curl drop duck fall flip flop fly fold hunch jut kneel lash lean loll lunge perch pivot reach recline rock settle shuffle sink sit slump squat sway swing swivel thrash tilt topple turn twist yaw
crouch down sit down sprawl out squat down stretch out
9 The `live' group

These verbs are concerned with being or staying somewhere, or originating somewhere. This includes doing something somewhere, e.g. operate, work.

  • The restaurant was in Cork Street, Mayfair.
  • This place is just too decadent. I could never live here.
  • The study of handwriting, or graphology, originated in Italy in the seventeenth century.
  • In 1969, he settled down in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he spent the rest of his life playing on the local blues circuit.
  • She was sitting at the kitchen table when I came in.
  • He worked in a travel agent's.
balance bathe be belong bivouac browse centre crouch dangle doss dwell fly (Rumours) hang holiday hover huddle idle keep kip kneel languish laze lean lie linger live locate lodge loll lounge navigate nestle occur operate originate perch recline remain repose reside rest roost serve settle shelter sit skulk slouch snoop sprawl sprout stand stay stop vacation winter work
bed down doss down hang out knock around/about loll about put up set up settle down
131
10 The `face' group

These verbs indicate the shape of something, or where it is in relation to something else. The Adjunct usually indicates direction.

  • She was a beautiful woman, with long blonde hair that cascaded down her back.
  • Presently, the land started to drop away to precipitous cliffs.
  • The garden faces south and does not suffer from late frosts.
  • The pool and terrace look out over the sea.
  • They saw a series of stones projecting from the outside wall near the window.
  • On the first leg of the trek the road wound through a forest.
arc arch ascend begin bulge cascade coil continue curve dip droop end extend face fall flow fork go hang jut lead loll look loom meander pass point project radiate rear rise run shelve slant slope snake soar splay sprawl stick straggle stream stretch sweep taper thrust tower trail twist wind
branch off drop away lead off look out rise up
11 The `echo' group

These verbs indicate that a sound is heard somewhere. The Adjunct usually indicates direction. The Subject is inanimate.

  • There was confusion and panic as the sound of gunfire echoed round the city.
  • The insistent hum of jet engines reverberates through these ultra-modern hangars.
boom echo resound reverberate
boom out
12 The `look' and `gesture' group

These verbs are concerned with looking, gesturing, and communicating. We include here pan, which indicates that a camera is viewing something; scroll, which indicates that someone looks at text on a computer screen; and wander 3, which indicates that someone thinks about something. The Adjunct usually indicates direction.

  • He gestured towards the two Englishmen. `How much do they know?'
  • I looked at her and shrugged.
  • Higgins shifted uncomfortably in his seat as the camera panned over the scene.
  • Houston's eyes roved restlessly about the room.
  • He let his mind wander lazily over the events of the night before.
dart (Your eyes) gaze gesture glance glower leer look pan peep peer radio rove (Your eyes) scroll signal squint stare sweep (Your eyes) swivel (Your eyes) wander (Your mind) wander (Your eyes)
132
13 The `search' group

These verbs are concerned with searching. The Adjunct indicates the place, container, or group of things in which someone is searching.

  • She rummaged through her beach bag, trying to find something thin and made out of metal.
  • He dropped the shell and grovelled on the floor, inhaling carpet dust as he searched under the bed.
burrow delve dig feel ferret fumble grope grub look probe root rummage scavenge search shop

These verbs also have the patterns V prep/adv for n and V for n prep/adv. The prepositional phrase beginning with for indicates what someone is trying to find.

  • Police are looking in nearby buildings for other firebombs.
  • She looked away and rummaged for a hankie in her handbag.
14 The `lurch' group

These verbs are concerned with progressing or coming to be in a different state. We include here hold and hover, which indicate that someone or something remains in a particular state for a while, and loom, which indicates that something is about to happen.

  • The World Health Organization went even further during its 1988 session held in Geneva, urging the testing of all children.
  • For three weeks I hovered between life and death.
  • What they do is prompted by a passionate desire to warn humanity about the danger looming over it.
  • In 1861, this country lurched into a civil war from which it has never fully recovered.
  • Marseille romped to a 4-1 win over Lille yesterday.
  • This is the main reason why the divorce rate is spiralling upwards.
ascend bubble crawl creep get go gyrate hold hover limp loom lurch romp spiral sputter squeak stagger stutter tilt veer
15 The `behave' group

These verbs are used to describe people's behaviour. The Adjunct indicates the way someone behaves. In the case of eat, it indicates the kind or amount of food someone eats; in the case of dress and wrap up, it indicates the type of thing someone wears. The prepositional phrase often begins with like or is something like in an unusual way.

  • They were behaving like animals.
  • Rownall drove jerkily, cornering too fast and fumbling the gears.
  • Forget gimmicky diets; eat sensibly and fill up with fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Always wrap up warmly after a spa bath.
act behave corner dress eat live react think tread
wrap up
133 Some of these verbs also have the pattern V as if.

The verbs behave and react also have the pattern V prep/adv towards/toward n. The prepositional phrase beginning with towards or toward indicates who or what a person's behaviour involves or relates to.

  • They take drugs, get drunk, and behave sadistically towards younger schoolmates.
The verb react also has the patterns V prep/adv to n and V to n prep/adv.
  • But afterwards shareholders reacted angrily to the deal.
16 The `shape up' group

These verbs are used when talking about how something behaves when it is used, or how successful something or someone is. Most of them are used with adverbs such as well and nicely. The phrasal verb come off is used with worst and best.

  • Her English is coming along well.
  • In negotiations with European partners, they invariably come off worst.
  • For once, the show went off without technical hitches.
  • This is a magnificent machine which rides well at low speed and which handles faultlessly when driven fast.
  • If the book sells well, and we think it will because it's an excellent read, they stand to make a lot of money.
  • Heather Edwards, recently appointed as the Chancellor's parliamentary private secretary, is shaping up nicely.
  • I'm convinced that everything's going to work out well in the end.
act behave corner fit handle operate progress read run sell work
come along come off come on get on go along go off make out pass off shape up work out
17 The `come over' group

These verbs are used when talking about how someone or something is perceived or received.

  • The supposedly normal people came over like loonies while the religious weirdos seemed reasonable and well-balanced.
  • His joke went down well. Even Blake smiled.
come across come over go down
18 The `begin' and `end' group

These verbs are concerned with beginning or ending. The Adjunct indicates the circumstances that existed at the beginning or end of something, or the state of the Subject at that time.

  • Clinton's campaign began well. The year ended on a high note with the biggest attendance (39 members and 12 visitors) enjoying some excellent films presented by Alan Wilmott.
  • The driver of the car escaped with cuts and bruises.
134
begin close conclude continue end escape finish open start
19 The `last' group

These verbs are used when indicating how long something lasts or when it started and ended.

  • The mixture will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge and can be served hot, warm or cold.
  • The strike did not last long.
  • Robert Heath MP, who lived from 1806 to 1893, created the magnificent gardens there.
keep last live run
20 The `breakfast' group

These verbs are concerned with having a meal. The Adjunct indicates the circumstances in which the meal is eaten.

  • She breakfasted alone in her cell.
breakfast dine lunch
21 Verbs with other meanings

There are a few other verbs which have this pattern.

  • The statement came at the end of the council's annual summit in Qatar on Tuesday.
  • Much of the working mother's hard-earned salary goes on expensive toys and treats.
  • Sir Philip now lives in luxury in Kent. But he has never forgotten his roots.
  • British Rail says its services are more or less running to time this lunchtime.
  • He was determined to stay up until twelve o'clock and watch the people celebrating in Times Square, New York.
come go live run
stay up
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase or adverb group is usually an Adjunct, although some prepositional phrases are prepositional Objects or prepositional Complements.

b) This structure has a passive with the pattern be V-ed prep (prep here means a preposition, not a prepositional phrase). However, it does not often occur. Usually there can be a passive structure only with one or two particular prepositions. The Subject refers to something directly affected by or involved in the action.
Even old and venerable rugs are walked on by all and sundry.
The cottage has not been lived in for several years.

135 The following verbs from the lists above are the ones most frequently used in the passive, with the preposition(s) indicated.
jump (on) leap (on/upon) live (in) look (at) peer (at) sit (on) stand (on) stare (at) step (on) walk (on/over/through)

c) Phrasal verb patterns are the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb. The passive pattern, be V-ed P prep, does not often occur.

Other related patterns
V adv prep

Most verbs with the pattern V prep/adv also have the pattern V adv prep. The verb is followed by an adverb and a prepositional phrase.

  • They got into the lorries which were waiting for them and drove off into the forest.
  • He walked over to his desk.
V prep prep

Many of the verbs described in this section also have the pattern V prep prep. The verb is followed by two prepositional phrases.

  • The state government has lurched from one budget crisis to another.
  • He ran down the stairs to the living room.

Sometimes verbs are followed by more than two prepositional phrases.

  • The dams will regulate the flow of water on the flood-prone Souris River, which flows from southeastern Saskatchewan across the Canada-U.S. border into North Dakota.
V prep/adv for n, V for n prep/adv
See meaning group 13 above.
V prep/adv to n, V to n prep/adv
See meaning group 15 above.
V prep/adv towards/toward n
See meaning group 15 above.
V prep/adv n

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase or an adverb group, which is followed by a noun group describing the Subject. This is a productive pattern: many verbs of movement can be used in this way.

  • You're going out a youngster, but you've got to come back a star.
2 V adv
The verb is followed by an adverb group.

This pattern has one structure:

  • Verb with Adjunct
    They did well.
V adv
  Verb groupadverb group  
SubjectVerbAdjunctAdjunct (optional)
Sheis doingwellat school.
My skinwas peelingoff.  

Most verbs can be followed by adverbs of manner or place. When information about manner or place is not essential, the adverb group is not part of the pattern. The verbs dealt with below are the ones which are always or typically followed by a particular adverb or small group of adverbs.

Many verbs which can be followed by an adverb group can also be followed by a variety of prepositions. These verbs are dealt with in Section 1 above. Verbs which can also be followed by one or two specific prepositions are dealt with in the sections on verbs followed by individual prepositions (Sections 5 to 33 below), as well as in this section.

Verbs with the pattern V adv belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `do well' group 3 The `bruise' group 5 The `swing' group
2 The `clean' group 4 The `scare' group 6 The `get somewhere' group
1 The `do well' group

These verbs are used with adverbs such as well and badly. Most of them are concerned with success or failure. We include here rank and rate, which are used with highly.

  • I've seen quite a few of the recent gangster films and this compares very favourably.
  • The Republicans did badly in the election.
  • Many defence chiefs feel they might fare better under Labour, which is keen to protect Britain's conventional armed forces.
  • Friendships rate highly in Amanda's scheme of things.
augur bode compare do fare go pay perform rank rate work

The verbs bode and augur also have the pattern V adv for n. The prepositional phrase beginning with for indicates who or what is likely or unlikely to be fortunate or unfortunate.

137 With delivery scheduled for 1994, a Boeing spokesman says this latest order bodes well for the airline industry.

The verb compare also has the pattern V adv with n. The prepositional phrase beginning with with indicates what something is better than or worse than.

  • While Britain's overall road safety record compares favourably with that of other European countries, Britain's child accident rates are no better than average.
2 The `clean' group

These verbs are used to indicate that something has a desirable quality, such as being easily cleaned, prepared, or moved. They are all ergative verbs (see Chapter 7).

This use is productive: many verbs which have the pattern V n and indicate something you want to do to something can be used with the pattern V adv. The verbs listed here are the ones which are most frequently used in this way.

  • Our wood flooring not only looks smart, feels comfortable and cleans easily, but it's environmentally friendly into the bargain!
  • Buy a canvas beach bag that folds easily and leave your cumbersome straw shopping bag at home.
  • Apart from peppers and aubergines, many other vegetables grill well.
apply clean cut display drain fold glue grill lift read wash wear
3 The `bruise' group

These verbs are used to indicate that something is easily damaged. These are all ergative verbs (see Chapter 7).

This use is productive: any verb which has the pattern V n and is concerned with damage can be used with the pattern V adv. The verbs listed here are the ones which are most frequently used in this way.

  • Hands are gentler than spoons for tossing salad leaves that bruise easily.
  • Sarah has typically British fair skin that burns easily.
break bruise burn chip crack damage fracture mark rip scorch scratch scuff shatter snap tear
4 The `scare' group

This verb indicates that someone feels an emotion easily.

This use is productive: any verb which has the pattern V n and indicates that someone is made to feel an emotion, especially fear, can be used with the pattern V adv. The verbs given here are the ones which are most frequently used in this way.

  • I don't scare easily but I have to say I was terrified.
scare spook
5 The `swing' group

These verbs are concerned with movement or progress. They are used with one particular adverb of direction, or with a restricted set, as indicated in the list below. (The pattern pl-n V together is described separately in Section 3 below)

138 After 1 mile, bear right at Rooksnest Farm.
  • They crowded round, inspecting, touching, laughing.
  • In spite of the recession, profits have galloped ahead.
  • We hurried across the wet concrete, flung our cases into the big Parks vehicle and piled in.
  • He swung round to see who was there.
bear (left/right) belch (out) billow (out) bounce (up and down) bound (ahead) brush (by/past) bum (around) climb (up/down) coast (home) creep (up) crowd (round/around) delve (deeper) dive (in) drag (past) filter (through/in/out) flash (up) gad (about/out) gallop (ahead) jiggle (around/about) lag (behind) pass (back) peel (off/away) pelt (down) pile (in/out) pour (down) press (down) pull (away) pull (ahead/away) race (ahead) run (over/down) splash (around/about) stay (away) swill (around/about) swing (round/around) wheel (round/around) writhe (around/about)
6 The `get somewhere' group

These verbs are used with adverbs of distance, such as far, or general adverbs of place, such as somewhere or there.

  • Fairbairn had then questioned Arnold closely, but had not got very far.
  • Both Otto's and the Lockwood Inn use the same style of open, wood fire pit, but the similarity stops there.
end get stop stretch
7 The `phone' group

These verbs are concerned with phoning or writing a letter. They are used with the adverb home.

  • On four or five occasions, she had phoned home and said she was staying with friends.
  • Give my compliments to your lovely wife when you write home.
call phone ring telephone write
8 Verbs with other meanings

There are a few other verbs which have this pattern. They are used with a particular adverb or pair of adverbs.

  • If Leaphorn had guessed right about the lake, the chance of catching George there looked a little better.
  • First-borns generally score higher than later-born children on tests of intellectual performance.
The phrasal verb come in is used only in questions or clauses beginning with where.
  • After a short pause, Rose asked again, `But where do we come in, Henry?'
guess (wrong/right) score (low/high) weigh (heavily)
come in
139
Structure information

a) The adverb group is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) There is only one phrasal verb associated with this pattern, come in (see meaning group 8 above).

Other related patterns
V adv for n
See meaning group 1 above.
V adv with n
See meaning group 1 above.
V amount adv
V ord

The verb is followed by an ordinal, such as first, second, or last. These verbs are concerned with the position of someone or something in a competition or list.

  • He came third in the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest with `Eldorado'.
  • France ranked fourth in 1990 in terms of total spending on science as a percentage of gross domestic product.
come finish lie rank

The verb rank also has the pattern V ord prep. The prepositional phrase after the ordinal indicates the group of things or people in which the Subject holds a particular position.

  • Newly-released official statistics indicate that Hong Kong still ranks first among the Chinese mainland's top ten trading partners.
3 pl-n V together
The verb is followed by the adverb together. The Subject is a plural noun group.

This pattern has one structure:

  • Verb with Adjunct
    The cells clump together.
140
pl-n V together
plural noun groupVerb grouptogether
SubjectVerbAdjunct
Theyclungtogether.
The whole teammust pulltogether.
Phrasal verbs: pl-n V P together
plural noun groupVerb groupParticletogether  
SubjectVerb   AdjunctAdjunct (optional)
We allmuckedintogether.  
Theyranawaytogetherto America.

The Subject refers to two or more people, things, or groups. Note that verbs with this pattern are similar in meaning to reciprocal verbs, but they are not regarded as true reciprocal verbs because they must have the adverb together when used with a plural Subject.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `cluster' group 2 The `live' group 3 The `band' group
1 The `cluster' group

These verbs indicate that two or more people or things move closer to each other or touch each other.

  • Someone suggested coffee, as they clustered together outside the Underground in Tottenham Court Road.
  • The edges are ready-gummed and when moistened will stick together.
  • Tree limbs which rub together can cause weakness through deformation, and disease infection is likely.
cling clump cluster gather knit rub stick
cuddle up
2 The `live' group

These verbs indicate that two or more people live together, start living together, or spend time with each other. We include here get, which indicates that two or more people meet by arrangement.

  • They usually hung around together most of the time.
  • The relationship blossomed. They decided to live together the following year.
  • We'd been seeing each other for a year when he suggested we should move in together.
141
get live room sleep
hang around/round knock around/about move in run away run off
3 The `band' group

These verbs indicate that people form a group, do something together, or support each other.

  • Several meat producers in my area have banded together to form a lobbying group.
  • We men have got to stick together.
band club group hang hold pull stick
muck in
4 Verbs with other meanings

There are two other verbs which have this pattern.

  • We belonged together. Even when we hated each other, which was most of the time, we needed each other too.
The Subject is occasionally a singular noun group.
  • There are a few bright spots, but the show as a whole doesn't hang together.
belong hang
Structure information

a) The adverb together is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

4 V prep
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of a preposition and a noun group. The passive pattern is be V-ed prep (prep here means a preposition, not a prepositional phrase). The verbs described in this section are used with a variety of prepositions. Some verbs listed here are also included in sections relating to verbs followed by specific prepositions.

This pattern has two structures:

  • Structure I: Verb with prepositional Object
    They will vote on it.
  • Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
    He disappeared into the kitchen.
142 Both these structures are dealt with together because both structures can occur with the same verb, depending on the preposition (see `Structure information' below for further details).
Structure I: Verb with prepositional Object
Active voice: V prep
  Verb groupprepositional phrase
SubjectVerbprepositional Object
Shechewedon her pencil rubber.
Igrievedfor all that had been lost.
Hewould not speculateon what actions might follow.
Passive voice: be V-ed prep
  Verb grouppreposition  
SubjectVerbPrepositionAdjunct (optional)
That measurewill be votedonlater today.
Phrasal verbs: V P prep
  Verb groupParticleprepositional phrase
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object
Smaller mammothscould getbyon less food.
Hewas thinkingbackto the scenes of his childhood.
Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
V prep
  Verb groupprepositional phrase
SubjectVerbAdjunct
The small convoydescendedinto the valley.
Shedisappearedthrough the door.
Phrasal verbs: V P prep
  Verb groupParticleprepositional phrase
SubjectVerb   Adjunct
The vanpulledoutfrom the line of parked cars.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `recede' group 3 The `shoot' group 5 The `deliberate' group
2 The `rise' and `drop' group 143 4 The `scrape' group 6 The `work' group
1 The `recede' group

These verbs are concerned with moving, arriving, or being somewhere.

  • I don't remember what happened after I collapsed onto the settee.
  • Two steamers used to ply between Sakhalin and Yuzhno Kurilsk, the main town on the the southernmost island.
  • He got into the car and pulled out into the traffic.
  • Because the Universe is expanding, a distant galaxy recedes from us faster than a nearby one.
  • Her brother was killed when his car went out of control on a bend and somersaulted into a field.
backtrack catapult circulate climb collapse crumple descend detour diffuse disappear fall flow (An emotion) gust hiss pirouette play ply rake recede rip ripple run rustle sigh (The wind) sledge somersault spread tumble weave
pull out
2 The `rise' and `drop' group

These verbs indicate that someone or something starts being in a different situation or doing something different. We include here change, as in change from fourth to fifth gear.

  • Havant, the former champions, dropped to fourth place when they suffered their second defeat of the season by Slough.
  • Earlier, Mr Ryzhkov said the two sides were moving towards a solution to their confrontation.
  • Not a single woman has risen to the rank of Agent.
change drift drop leap leapfrog move rise slide swing
branch out rise up
3 The `shoot' group

These verbs are concerned with sending something or gesturing in a particular direction. The prepositional phrase indicates direction. We include here whisper, which indicates that someone sends their voice in a particular direction.

  • He blew on his chilled, purple fingers and put his mittens back on.
  • `Do you recognize this man?' He nodded towards Hubbard.
  • Its drivers were climbing out of the cab and shooting in the general direction of the chopper.
  • The players claimed they had been spat on and had objects thrown at them.
  • As Mr Evans put her down, Meg tugged at his hand and whispered in his ear.
144
blow gesticulate gob nod pitch shoot spit whisper
4 The `scrape' group

These verbs are concerned with physical contact, connection, or damage. The prepositional phrase indicates the thing that is touched or damaged.

  • Josef is hacking at the trunk of a tree he chopped down in his back yard.
  • There is an optional grass box which hooks onto the back of the mower.
  • After a while the only audible sound is that of knives and forks scraping against china.
bite chew chomp fasten froth hack hook lap rasp saw scrape scribble slobber tap tighten twine
5 The `deliberate' group

These verbs are concerned with speech, writing, thought, or emotion. The prepositional phrase indicates the topic or issue involved.

  • At the same time his colleagues in parliament have been deliberating about constitutional change.
  • But I understand Wright is adamant he did not act irresponsibly and is seething at the accusation.
  • If I saw a prisoner being beaten by a prison officer, then I would speak up about it.
  • The extent to which under-urbanization has resulted from such labour practices is speculated on below.
In the case of the following verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by a wh-clause: adjudicate, deliberate, differ, disagree, discourse, speculate, vote, waver.
  • The ethics committee is preparing to vote on whether to begin a full investigation.
adjudicate deliberate differ disagree discourse drool eulogize fuss generalize grieve gush seethe smart speculate vote waver
come out speak out speak up think back
6 The `work' group

These verbs are concerned with action or endeavour. The prepositional phrase indicates the field of the action or endeavour.

  • Twelve boats from ten countries will compete in the Americas Cup.
  • You see, Tim, we have been working on this project, Henry and I, for a long time.
In the case of persevere and work, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • They say they will work towards removing the underlying causes of famine.
compete enrol persevere serve slog struggle work
145
7 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other phrasal verbs which have this pattern.

  • Thousands of broadcasters came out on strike.
  • In the computer manufacturing industry, they're learning to get by with fewer employees.
  • Let your child go around with bare feet for as long as possible.
come out get along get by go about go around/round line up
Structure information

a) If the prepositional phrase indicates something that is directly affected by or involved in an action, it is considered to be a prepositional Object. If it indicates the circumstances of an action, it is considered to be an Adjunct. Verbs with the pattern V prep are followed by three or more different prepositions, and in some cases the prepositional phrase may be an Adjunct or a prepositional Object, depending on the preposition.

b) This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed prep (prep here means a preposition, not a prepositional phrase). However, it does not often occur. Usually there can be a passive structure for a verb only with one or two particular prepositions. The Subject refers to something directly affected by or involved in the action.
The proposals are still being worked on.

The following verbs from the lists above are the ones most frequently used in the passive, with the preposition(s) indicated.

adjudicate (on) compete (for) drool (over) gob (at) grieve (for) gush (over) hack (at) rummage (through) speculate (on/upon/about) spit (on/at) vote (on/for) work (on/at/for)

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb. The passive pattern does not often occur.

5 V about n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of the preposition about and a noun group. With most verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause or a wh-clause. In Structure I, the preposition is followed by an `-ing' form. The passive pattern is be V-ed about.

This pattern has three structures:

  • Structure I: Verbs in phase
    Don't bother about clearing up.
  • Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
    He was grumbling about the weather.
  • Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
    David rang about the meeting tomorrow.
146
Structure I: Verbs in phase
V about -ing
  Verb groupabout-ing  
SubjectVerb     Completive
  Forgetaboutbeingfriendly.

There are only two verbs with this structure. They are concerned with not doing something.

  • As the Indians did not bother about digging very deep graves, many skeletons had been found.
(not) bother forget

When the preposition about is followed by a noun group, these verbs have Structure II (see meaning groups II.2 and II.4 below).

Structure information: Verbs in phase

a) The verb is followed by the preposition about and the `-ing' form of another verb. The verbs are in phase, and together form a complex verb group. This means that the actions or states expressed by the two verbs cannot be separated from each other. For example, if someone is told to forget about getting something, the forgetting and the not getting are not two processes, but one.

The complex verb group is followed by a group, phrase, or clause which completes the pattern of the second verb. In the structure table above, this is called a Completive. For example, if the second verb is normally followed by a noun group, then the Completive of the complex verb group will be a noun group.

b) This structure has no passive.

Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
Active voice: V about n/-ing/wh
  Verb groupaboutnoun group/-ing clause/wh-clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Youdidn't agonizeaboutwhether or not to do it?
Idreamaboutwinning the 100 meters.
Other playersare grumblingaboutunpaid wages.
Iheardaboutthe accident.
Passive voice: be V-ed about
  Verb groupabout  
SubjectVerbPrepositionAdjunct (optional)
These childrenare not being forgottenabout.  
Nothing elsehad been talkedaboutfor weeks.
147
Phrasal verbs: V P about n
  Verb groupParticleaboutnoun group
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object  
Successive ministershave dronedonaboutthe need for cuts.
She's foundoutaboutthe money.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

II.1 The `talk' group II.2 The `think' group II.3 The `learn' group
II.1 The `talk' group

These verbs are concerned with speaking or writing. This includes:

  • verbs that indicate the function of what is said e.g. argue, ask, complain
  • verbs that indicate how something is said e.g. mutter, wail
  • verbs that indicate the feeling of the speaker e.g. enthuse, fulminate

All the phrasal verbs (as well as some of the ordinary verbs) indicate that someone speaks for longer than you consider acceptable, and sometimes that there is something else that you dislike about what they are saying, for example that it is boring or stupid. The prepositional phrase indicates the topic involved.

  • He seemed to have forgotten that I had asked about his car.
  • She's not complained about the conditions or anything.
  • I have not heard her enthuse about a resort so enthusiastically ever before.
  • Some of them could be heard muttering about the high prices of the clothes.
  • He talked about all kinds of things.
  • He witters on about how rising paper and print costs have made this regrettable increase unavoidable.
The verbs argue 4, bicker, chat, dicker, fight, haggle, quarrel, row, squabble, and talk 2 always or often have a plural Subject with this pattern because they are reciprocal verbs concerned with having an argument or discussion (see Chapter 6).
  • My parents were quarrelling about me though I could not quite tell why.
With most of the verbs in this group, the preposition about is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • He had boasted about stabbing a woman.
With some of these verbs, particularly complain, joke, and go on, the preposition about is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V about n -ing.
  • Terrified residents complained about aircraft flying low over their homes.
In the case of the following verbs, the preposition about is sometimes followed by a wh-clause: argue, ask, bicker, chat, chatter, equivocate, fight, haggle, inquire, joke, lie, quarrel, quibble, row, squabble, talk, waffle.
  • He and Patra argued about what to wear.
148
argue ask bellyache bicker bitch blab blather bleat boast brag burble carp chat chatter complain crow dicker discourse enthuse equivocate fight fulminate generalize gripe groan grouse grumble gush haggle inquire joke lie moan mutter pontificate preach protest quarrel quibble rant rap rave rhapsodize row sing snigger speak squabble swank talk testify trumpet tut-tut twitter waffle wail whine whinge whisper witter write yap
babble on bang on blather on bleat on burble on carry on drone on go on harp on keep on prattle on rabbit on ramble on rant on rattle on sound off spout forth spout off waffle on witter on
II.2 The `think' group

These verbs are concerned with thought or feeling, or the expression of thought or feeling. The prepositional phrase indicates the topic of the thought or feeling.

  • It's a problem that has been known about for years.
  • For the most part, people think about themselves rather than others.
With most verbs, the preposition about is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • He told me he had always dreamed about being a star when he was a kid.
With some of these verbs, particularly know, think, and worry, the preposition about is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V about n -ing.
  • I think he still worries about me being the youngest.
In the case of the following verbs, the preposition about is sometimes followed by a wh-clause: agonize, bother, brood, care, cogitate, deliberate, differ, disagree, dither, fret, know, muse, philosophize, puzzle, ruminate, theorize, think, wonder, worry.
  • It averages out so that you don't need to dither about when to buy.
agonize agree bother brood care cogitate daydream deliberate differ disagree dither dream fantasize forget fret fume gloat know muse obsess philosophize puzzle rage ruminate speculate theorize think waffle waver wonder worry
See also Structure I above
II.3 The `learn' group

These verbs are concerned with acquiring knowledge. The prepositional phrase indicates what the knowledge concerns.

  • We found out about these changes by pure accident.
  • I heard about the trouble on the television early this morning, so I hurried on over.
149 The preposition about is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The players learned about competing against quality opposition and improved each game.
In the case of learn, the preposition about is sometimes followed by a wh-clause.
  • Even in school, Hewitt was learning about how to use time.
In the case of hear and read, the preposition about is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V about n -ing.
  • And that's how you heard about Ron Hythe fighting with Doyle?
hear learn read
find out
II.4 Verbs with other meanings

There is one other verb which has this structure.

  • I'll be late, don't bother about supper.
(not) bother
See also Structure I above.
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed about. However, not all verbs with this structure are used in the passive. The following verbs are the ones which are most frequently passive.

argue forget joke know lie speak talk think write

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb. There is no passive pattern.

Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
V about n
  Verb groupaboutnoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
I'm phoningaboutthe arrangements for tomorrow.
Phrasal verbs: V P about n
  Verb groupParticleaboutnoun group
SubjectVerb   Adjunct  
Thousands of peoplewriteinabouttheir experiences.
150 These verbs are concerned with communication by telephone or letter. The prepositional phrase indicates the topic which is the reason for the communication.
  • Hello? I'm calling about the ad for the car.
  • I don't know if you can remember, a few months ago I rang up about some housing problems I and my husband were having with the landlord.
call phone ring
phone up ring up write in
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Other related patterns
V about n to n, V to n about n
V about n with n, V with n about n
See Chapter 6.
V adj/adv about n

The verb is followed by an adjective group or an adverb group, and a prepositional phrase beginning with about.

  • He felt good about the show.
  • He felt differently about this scaled-down plan.

This pattern may occur as part of a question or wh-clause.

  • Look, I know how you feel about James.
The preposition about is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause, or by a noun group and an `-ing' clause.
  • Obviously one should feel depressed about being 60.
  • How do you feel about me being a policeman?
feel
6 V across n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of across and a noun group.

This pattern has one structure:

151 *Verb with Adjunct.
I cut across the field.
V across n
  Verb groupacrossnoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
Shecutacrossthe grass.
Birdsskimmedacrossthe water.

Verbs with this pattern are all concerned with crossing or passing from one side of a place to the other, either physically or metaphorically.

  • Nancy, out of the corner of her eye, saw the shadow that suddenly fell across the doorway.
  • A cold, dead smile flickered across Vincent's grey features, and for a brief second his eyes sparked to life.
  • Hurricane Dean swept across Bermuda with torrential rains and winds as strong as 113 miles per hour, flooding some coastal roads.
brush cut fall flicker flit plane skim sweep
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

7 V after n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of the preposition after and a noun group.

This pattern has one structure:

  • Verb with prepositional Object
    They lust after power.
V after n
  Verb groupafternoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
The attendantschasedafterhim.
Americanshankerafterthe big gas-guzzling cars of yesteryear.
152
Phrasal verbs: V P after n
  Verb groupParticleafternoun group
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object  
Ihad to cleanupafterher.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `hanker' group 2 The `go' group 3 The `follow' group
1 The `hanker' group

These verbs are concerned with wanting something or someone very much.

  • He still hankers after high office.
  • But even as a professional, she felt treated like a little girl, a piece of fluff to be lusted after.
hanker hunger lust thirst yearn
2 The `go' group

These verbs are concerned with trying to get something or someone.

  • I was always chasing after men who just couldn't handle intimacy.
  • It gives you the credibility you'll need if you want to go after a managerial position elsewhere.
chase go run
3 The `follow' group

These verbs are concerned with following someone.

  • He tried to punch me; I struck back. He ran away. I chased after him.
chase follow
4 The `clear up' group

These verbs are concerned with doing something, usually cleaning or tidying, which has been made necessary by someone else. The prepositional phrase indicates the other person.

  • He had a reputation for leaving bathrooms in an appalling state, safe in the knowledge that his minions would clear up after him.
clean up clear up run around tidy up
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

153 b) This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed after. However, the passive does not often occur. The verb that is most frequently used in the passive is lust.
He wanted to be lusted after.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb. There is no passive pattern.

Other related patterns
V after n with quote
8 V against n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of against and a noun group. With some verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause. The passive pattern is be V-ed against.

This pattern has one structure:

  • Verb with prepositional Object
    Thousands of people demonstrated against the tax.
Active voice: V against n/-ing
  Verb groupagainstnoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Hecampaignedagainstarranged marriages.
You're competingagainstyounger workers.
Theyhave decidedagainstboycotting the referendum.
Their bulletsslammedagainstthe fuselage.
Passive voice: be V-ed against
  Verb groupagainst  
SubjectVerbPrepositionAdjunct (optional)
Theyare discriminatedagainstby their employers.
Phrasal verbs: V P against n/-ing
  Verb groupParticleagainstnoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object  
Several countrieshave comeoutagainstholding official celebrations.
Hehas foughtbackagainstthe hardliners.
Helashedoutagainstthe proposal.
154 Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:
1 The `compete' group 3 The `preach' group 5 The `insure' group
2 The `campaign' group 4 The `bump' group 6 The `offend' group
1 The `compete' group

These verbs are concerned with opposing someone, competing with someone, or doing something to harm someone. We include here draw, lose, prevail, win, win out, and win through, which indicate the result of a contest. Some of these verbs are reciprocal verbs and have a plural Subject in this pattern (see Chapter 6).

  • The competition gave junior players the chance to compete against members of other clubs.
  • When I started at college, all the girls in my class seemed to gang up against me and talk and laugh about me.
  • I can't wait to play against them because we are capable of giving United a real run for their money.
  • She also began to have aggressive and murderous thoughts about her family, thinking that they were plotting against her.
  • Sir Geoffrey Howe made clear through friends on the evening of his resignation that he would not stand against Mrs Thatcher.
  • In the quarter-finals, Notts beat Essex, Worcestershire beat Glamorgan, Lancashire disposed of Surrey and Somerset won against Middlesex.
The verb stack up usually has this pattern in a question beginning with how.
  • A favorite theme of Perot's is how the US stacks up against its foreign competitors.
battle compete conspire discriminate draw fight lose mutiny play plot prevail race rebel retaliate revolt rise run scheme side sin spy stand testify win
fight back gang up rise up stack up win out win through
2 The `campaign' group

These verbs are concerned with trying to stop something that is happening or is planned.

  • He has campaigned against apartheid all his life.
  • Most EC countries have already legislated against excessive overtime.
  • The students are protesting against a cut in the education budget.
campaign crusade demonstrate fight legislate lobby protest strike vote
155
3 The `preach' group

These verbs are concerned with saying that something is bad in some way. We include here appeal, which indicates that someone makes a formal complaint about a decision.

  • Both Warren Beatty and Billy Crystal have lashed out against studios for not pushing their films hard enough.
  • Here was a man who preached against the gun, yet had friends who were notorious gunmen.
The preposition against is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • Doctors advise against putting a thermometer into your child's mouth because it may cause him to choke.
advise appeal argue blaspheme caution fulminate inveigh preach protest rage rail rant rule warn
come out hit out lash out speak out
4 The `bump' group

These verbs indicate that something hits or touches something else.

  • After what seemed eternity, there was a jerk as the boat bumped against something.
  • A cat came into the room and rubbed against its mistress's legs.
beat brush bump chafe clatter clink clunk grate knock rest rub slam smash strike
5 The `insure' group

These verbs are concerned with taking precautions against possible harm. The person or thing that is being protected is not explicitly mentioned. We include here the verb guard, which is used to indicate that someone avoids doing something or letting something happen.

  • While many insure against death, far fewer take precautions against long-term or permanent loss of income because of sickness.
  • It is exactly the right time to spray against the potato blight fungus.
In the case of guard, the preposition against is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • He warned the jury to guard against returning a tough verdict out of sympathy with relatives.
guard hedge insure protect spray
6 The `offend' group

These verbs are concerned with breaking something such as a rule or convention.

  • The policy seems to offer several aspects that offend against the constitution.
  • It is about a teacher who rebels against hidebound practices in an American school.
156
go offend rebel revolt transgress
7 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this pattern.

  • He warned today that the plan could backfire against the allies.
  • I had toyed with the idea of dyeing my hair black, but decided against it.
  • I have always saved. And I always like to pay bills as soon as they arrive. My father never saved and perhaps I reacted against that.
In the case of decide, militate, and react, the preposition against is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • We decided against having a midday meal so as to save time.
backfire battle boomerang chafe decide depreciate harden militate react struggle weigh
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed against. However, not all verbs with this structure are used in the passive. The verbs that are most frequently passive are discriminate and sin (usually in the phrase more sinned against than sinning).

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same, except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

9 V around/round n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of around or round and a noun group.

This pattern has two structures:

  • Structure I: Verb with prepositional Object
    Her life centres around her family.
  • Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
    They clustered around me.
Structure I: Verb with prepositional Object
V around/round n
  Verb grouparound/roundnoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
The plotcentresarounda baffling murder.
Iwas skirtingaroundthe real issues.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

157 I.1 The `centre' group
I.2 The `skate' group
I.3 The `fuss' group
I.1 The `centre' group

These verbs are used when indicating what the focus of something is.

  • Their disagreements have centred around the make-up of a proposed guerilla leadership council.
  • Community life here revolves around churches and schools.
  • Set on a ranch in Mexico early in the 20th century, the film revolves around Tita, the youngest of three sisters.
centre revolve
I.2 The `skate' group

These verbs are concerned with avoiding a subject.

  • Both of them like to skate around the subject of what they can do for African-Americans.
  • The Prime Minister tried to skirt round the trickier issues.
skate skirt
I.3 The `fuss' group

These verbs indicate that a person or group of people pays someone or something too much attention.

  • He was getting cross with the doctors for fussing around him and wanted to come back home.
cluck fawn fuss
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has no passive.

Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
V around/round n
  Verb grouparound/roundnoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
The birdwas circlingaroundthe house.
The childrenclusteredaroundme.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

II.1 The `circle' group II.2 The `crowd' group 158 II.3 The `hang' group
II.1 The `circle' group

These verbs indicate that someone or something moves in a circle or curve round someone or something else.

  • Because the firing was still going on, I circled around the building and came in from the other direction.
  • I skirted round the north of Brighton and Hove, avoiding them as Jeremy had instructed.
circle revolve skirt
II.2 The `crowd' group

These verbs indicate that a number of people move so as to surround someone or something.

  • Inside, the paparazzi cluster around any hapless celebrity they can find.
  • The boys crowded round the detailed map of the area.
cluster crowd flock gather throng
II.3 The `hang' group

These verbs indicate that someone or something is in a particular place, not doing much or not being used.

  • All the boys who are out of work hang around the five or six cafes there and drink endless cups of tea.
  • He says the gun had been lying around the house, and he just wanted to get rid of it.
hang lie stick
II.4 The `move' group

These verbs indicate that someone goes to a lot of different places.

  • In our ailing jobs market, people must move around the country in order to find work.
move run
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

10 V as adj
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of the preposition as and an adjective group. 159 This pattern has one structure:
  • Verb with prepositional Complement
    That counts as old.
V as adj
  Verb groupasadjective group
SubjectVerbprepositional Complement  
A large number of plantsqualifyasmedicinal.
Phrasal verbs: V P as adj
  Verb groupParticleasadjective group
SubjectVerb   prepositional Complement  
Hecomesoverassmug and arrogant.

Verbs with this pattern indicate that someone or something is perceived as having a particular quality or status, or hopes to be perceived in that way. All these verbs except count and emerge are link verbs (see Chapter 5).

  • I'm told that I come across as hard and intimidating but I don't feel hard and intimidating.
  • In Italy, many women count as unemployed even if they have a perfectly respectable `black market' job.
  • Parents can try to set good examples without trying to masquerade as perfect.
  • But with such a narrow definition, entire branches of knowledge would not qualify as useful.
count emerge masquerade pass qualify
come across come over
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Complement.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same, except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

11 V as n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of the preposition as and a noun group.

This pattern has one structure:

  • Verb with prepositional Complement
    His wife works as a designer.
160
V as n
  Verb groupasnoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Complement  
The bacteriumactsasa natural carrier for the gene.
The scandalbeganasa family feud.
Shetrainedasa teacher.
Phrasal verbs: V P as n
  Verb groupParticleasnoun group
SubjectVerb   prepositional Complement  
Isignedupasmidshipman on a cruiser.
Shestartedoutasan assembly line worker.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `work' group 3 The `begin' and `end' group 5 The `masquerade' group
2 The `function' group 4 The `rank' group 6 Verbs with other meanings
1 The `work' group

These verbs are concerned with doing, getting, leaving, or training for a job. The noun group after as contains a job title such as doctor or president.

  • She has recently qualified as a doctor and is hoping to practise in Pakistan.
  • Mr Guerra resigned as deputy prime minister in January.
  • After a spell as a volunteer in the RAF, he signed up as a steward with P&O Lines.
  • He intends to step down as chairman in 1997.
  • He worked as a kitchen assistant for the Ministry of Defence.
enlist freelance moonlight practise qualify resign run serve stand train volunteer work
put up shape up sign up stand down step down
2 The `function' group

These verbs are concerned with having a role or a function. The prepositional phrase indicates what someone or something is. All these verbs are link verbs (see Chapter 5).

  • Players act as their own referees, and altercations and bad language are virtually unknown.
  • A basic walking boot with tough leather uppers can double up as a digging boot.
  • Monosodium glutamate is a food additive that functions as a flavour enhancer.
act double figure function operate serve
double up
161
3 The `begin' and `end' group

These verbs are concerned with beginning, continuing, and ending. The prepositional phrase indicates what someone or something was at the beginning or end of something, or what they continue to be. All these verbs are link verbs (see Chapter 5).

  • The camp began as a maze of tents, but over 14 years it has grown into a proper village.
  • Mr. Barker will continue as chairman of the company's corporate finance division.
  • All of the other county games ended as draws.
  • People like me are facing poverty and may even end up as social welfare cases.
begin continue end finish originate remain start
end up finish up start off start out
4 The `rank' group

These verbs indicate that someone or something is perceived as a particular thing. All these verbs except count, emerge, and qualify are link verbs (see Chapter 5).

  • The MP came across as a genuine, committed socialist, a forthright man, honest and to be trusted.
  • Payment for transportation necessary for medical care qualifies as a medical expense.
  • The view through the columns and turrets over the surrounding gardens and parkland must rank as one of the most strangely beautiful and evocative in the land.
  • The world Olympiad final between the British women's team and Austria was shaping up as one of the most dramatic on record when play ended last night.
The preposition as is occasionally followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • If you are homeless through no fault of your own and you qualify as being in priority need, the council is obliged to find you somewhere to live.
count emerge pass qualify rank rate
come across come over go down shape up
5 The `masquerade' group

These verbs indicate that someone is trying to be perceived as something they are not or that something is intended to be perceived as something it is not. All these verbs except dress up are link verbs (see Chapter 5).

  • As a youngster he loved dressing up as Superman.
  • It denounces the use of taxpayer funds `to subsidise obscenity and blasphemy masquerading as art.'
  • Jones and his accomplice posed as police officers to gain entry to the house.
masquerade parade pose
dress up
162
6 Verbs with other meanings

There are two other verbs which have this pattern. The verb come is a link verb (see Chapter 5).

  • His promotion came as a surprise to some MPs since Mr Gummer, aged 53, has tended to be underestimated by opponents.
  • Stephanie came out as a lesbian when she was 21.
come
come out
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is a prepositional Complement.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Productive uses

The use of as and a noun group is productive. Many verbs in addition to the ones listed above are sometimes followed by such a prepositional phrase, which indicates the role of the Subject; for example someone can compete as an amateur, live as a recluse, or testify as a witness. The verbs listed in this section are the ones which are most frequently used in this way.

12 V as to wh
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of as to and a wh-clause or occasionally a noun group.

This pattern has one structure:

  • Verb with prepositional Object
    I inquired as to whether any solution had been reached.
V as to wh
  Verb groupas towh-clause/noun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Weadvise as towhether the group has a good legal case or not.
Analysts differ as tohow profitable the company will eventually be.
Shewill be testifyingas tohis mental condition.

This pattern is rather formal, and is used in writing more often than in speech. Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `inquire' group 2 The `advise group 3 The `agree' group
163
1 The `inquire' group

These verbs are concerned with trying to find out about something. We include here verbs such as inquire, which involve speaking, and verbs such as speculate, which involve thinking.

  • The journalist inquired as to sales. `It has sold twelve thousand copies in three weeks,' said Ford.
  • I wanted to speculate as to how it feels being in the middle of a revolution, to have history overtaking you.
enquire guess inquire speculate think
2 The `advise' group

These verbs are concerned with giving advice or information.

  • Can you advise as to why this should be happening?
  • Officials wouldn't comment as to whether any new agreements about a trading range for the dollar were made at Saturday's meeting.
advise comment testify
3 The `agree' group

These verbs are concerned with agreeing, disagreeing, or arguing about something.

  • They do not agree as to the pronunciation of some of the simplest and commonest words in the English language.
  • To this day historians disagree as to whether he was hero or villain.
agree argue differ disagree
Structure information
a) The prepositional phrase is a prepositional Object.

b) This structure has no passive.

13 V at n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of at and a noun group. With some verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause or a wh-clause. The passive pattern is be V-ed at.

This pattern has two main structures:

  • Structure I: Verb with prepositional Complement
    Unemployment is running at 17 per cent.
  • Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
    They swore at him.
164
Structure I: Verb with prepositional Complement
V at amount
  Verb groupatamount
SubjectVerbprepositional Complement  
The unemployment ratepeakedat11 per cent.
Inflationis runningataround sixty per cent.
Phrasal verbs: V P at amount
  Verb groupParticleatamount
SubjectVerb   prepositional Complement  
The two CDsclockinatjust under 100 minutes.
The priceworksoutat   5310 a cup.

In this structure, the noun group following the preposition is an amount, and the pattern is V at amount.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

I.1 The `stand' group

These verbs are used to indicate the size, level, or weight of something. They are all link verbs (see Chapter 5).

  • The cost of the fighter programme now stands at more than four thousand million dollars.
  • The average rise works out at 6.5 per cent.
run stand
average out clock in weigh in work out
I.2 The `peak' group

These verbs are used to indicate that something has a certain size, level, or price at a certain time or point.

  • The Confederation of British Industry has predicted that unemployment will bottom out at between 2.25 million and 2.5 million.
  • The dollar closed at DM1.4917, compared with Wednesday's New York close of DM1.4868.
  • Temperatures have peaked at over thirty degrees Celsius and a drought may shortly be declared in the region.
close end finish open peak stabilize
bottom out level off level out
165
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Complement

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Complement.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
Active voice: V at n/-ing
  Verb groupatnoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Heglancedathis watch.
Theyhave protestedatbeing underrepresented in government.
The rivalsshoutedateach other.
The kidtuggedatthe cuff of his sweater.
Passive voice: be V-ed at
  Verb groupat
SubjectVerbPreposition
Men in shortsare laughedat.
His carhas been shotat.
Phrasal verbs: V P at n
  Verb groupParticleatnoun group
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object  
The recessionis eatingawayattheir revenues.
A senior judgehitoutatthe new law.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

II.1 The `bay' group II.6 The `rejoice' group II.11 The `shoot' group
II.2 The `shout' group II.7 The `balk' and `jump' group II.12 The `hit back' group
II.3 The `wink' group II.8 The `prod' and `pull' group II.13 The `work' group
II.4 The `look' group II.9 The `chew' group II.14 The `sell' group
II.5 The `grumble' group II.10 The `eat away' group II.15 Verbs with other meanings
II.1 The `bay' group

These verbs indicate that an animal makes a noise. The prepositional phrase indicates who or what the noise is directed at.

  • A small dog barked at a seagull he was chasing.
  • Somewhere in the streets beyond a dog suddenly howled, baying at the moon.
166
bark bay growl howl screech snarl
II.2 The `shout' group

These verbs are concerned with shouting at someone, making noises at someone, or speaking in an unpleasant way to someone. The prepositional phrase indicates who is being addressed.

  • They're frightened of being laughed at in the street.
  • Charley won't like it. He'll go on at me for telling.
  • He used to shout at people and sometimes even hit his assistants.
  • I'm sorry, love, I didn't mean to snap at you like that.
bark bawl bellow cluck coo cuss hiss holler hoot jeer laugh preach rage rail rant scream screech shout shriek snap snarl sneer swear whistle wolf-whistle yap yell
blow up go on keep on
II.3 The `wink' group

These verbs are concerned with communicating with a facial expression or a gesture. The prepositional phrase indicates who the person is communicating with.

  • She looked back at Michael. `You don't think I'll do it, do you?' Michael just grinned at her, maddeningly.
  • I saw my parents waving at me through the window.
  • Cross winked at Menti and Menti smiled.
beam blink frown grimace grin leer nod scowl smile smirk wave wink
II.4 The `look' group

These verbs are concerned with looking at something or someone. Most of them indicate the manner of the looking or the attitude or emotion of the person looking.

  • Betty glared at her in disgust.
  • `Look at this,' one of the guests said. `The dial on this intercom's turned all the way down.'
  • Then he burst into sobs and covered his face with his hands. Alberg stared at him.
gape gawk gawp gaze glance glare glower goggle look ogle peek peep peer squint stare
II.5 The `grumble' group

These verbs are concerned with speaking, usually to express an opinion. The prepositional phrase indicates what is being talked about. We include here hint, which indicates that someone mentions something indirectly.

  • The council also hit out at incompetence among the officials in charge of distribution.
167 Councillor Mani scoffed at government claims that sufficient funds are unavailable for programmes for the aged. In the case of grumble, hint, and protest, the preposition at is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • We cooked them so well they were burnt and we couldn't eat them and we threw them out to the hens and our mothers grumbled at wasting good food.
In the case of protest, the preposition at is occasionally followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V at n -ing.
  • It is understandable that many women have protested at money being spent on sex offenders.
carp cavil cluck coo exclaim fume grumble hint laugh protest rage rail rant scoff sneer snipe
hammer away hit out lash out strike out
II.6 The `rejoice' group

These verbs are concerned with having a particular feeling in reaction to something, or expressing this feeling.

  • He chuckled at my expression of dismay.
  • Science fiction fans in Britain have been rejoicing at the return of `Thunderbirds' to their TVs.
  • What would Sarah do to her then? She shuddered at the thought and hurriedly put the problem away in the back of her mind.
With many of these verbs, especially bridle, bristle, chafe, and rejoice, the preposition at is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • Elsewhere parents chafe at paying school fees and would rather see their children start earning as soon as possible.
blanch boggle bridle bristle cackle chafe chuckle cringe despair drool exult fume grieve grimace guffaw laugh marvel quail rage recoil rejoice salivate seethe shudder smart smirk snicker (not) sniff (usu passive) snigger thrill wince wonder
II.7 The `balk' and `jump' group

These verbs are concerned with being willing or unwilling to do something.

  • To our surprise we were told that as they were about to change the display we could buy it for *53500. Naturally, we jumped at the chance.
In the case of balk and jib, the preposition at is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The prospect of higher taxes will make employers balk at hiring workers and consumers will be reluctant to spend.
balk jib jump leap
168
II.8 The `prod' and `pull' group

These verbs are concerned with touching something. This includes:

  • hitting something or trying to hit it
  • grasping something or trying to grasp it
  • pulling something
  • Graham clawed at the chain as it dug into his neck but he could make no impression on Lemmer's stranglehold.
  • I knocked at the front door.
  • Her announcement was intended to make a forceful impact but she was totally unprepared when Ricky immediately lashed out at her with his fists.
  • Cathy was prodding at a boiled egg, staring into space.
  • `Maria?' he said again and pulled at her wrist.
beat claw clutch dab grab grasp hack hammer jab knock lap paw pluck poke prod pull slash snatch stab swing swipe tap tear thrash tug yank
hack away hit out lash out strike out
II.9 The `chew' group

These verbs are concerned with biting or consuming something. We include here puff, which is concerned with smoking.

  • He chewed at the end of his pencil, thinking out the next problem.
  • It was winter and the sparrows were pecking at whatever they could find under the trees.
  • The men puffed at their cigars.
  • He sipped at his coffee and spread butter and marmalade on a roll.
chew gnaw nibble nip peck pick puff sip snap suck
munch away nibble away
II.10 The `eat away' group

These verbs are concerned with gradually reducing or weakening something.

  • They just have to chip away at some of the prosecution's evidence.
  • Enzymes begin to eat away at the cells.
chip away eat away nibble away whittle away
II.11 The `shoot' group

These verbs are concerned with attacking someone in some way. This includes:

  • sending something towards someone e.g. shoot, spit
  • moving towards someone e.g. rush
169 We also include here strike, which indicates that something is attacked in a non-physical way.
  • Official sources said a police patrol was fired at by some people from inside a place of worship.
  • Now Chuck, armed with a wrench, jumped down from the truck, and rushed at Hans.
  • The soldiers were shooting at anything that moved now.
  • Such a policy strikes at the very heart of the aircraft industry.
aim come fire fly gob rush shoot snipe spit strike
II.12 The `hit back' group

These verbs are concerned with retaliating. The prepositional phrase indicates who the retaliation is against.

  • Okay, I guess I wanted to get back at Junior for what he did to you, too.
get back hit back strike back
II.13 The `work' group

These verbs are concerned with working. The prepositional phrase indicates what the work is concerned with.

  • Not surprisingly in a large organisation, some scientists beaver away at what are, as far as the company is concerned, even quirkier projects.
In the case of work, the preposition at is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • There is no magic cure. It's up to you. You just have to work at breaking the habit.
toil work
beaver away toil away work away
II.14 The `sell' group

These verbs are used when indicating the price that is paid for something.

  • Tickets were selling at twice their face value.
retail sell
II.15 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this structure.

  • If and when they decide to reconsider the situation they will obtain your views before arriving at any decision as to cessation of operations.
  • So we looked in the back of Melody Maker and the advert for Von's studio was the one that jumped out at us.
In the case of aim, connive, and excel, the preposition at is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The Government must aim at getting Britain back to work.
  • Hayloft Woodwork make anything their customers want and excel at finding solutions to difficult problems.
170 In the case of guess, the preposition at is sometimes followed by a wh-clause.
  • From a distance, Mark had no way of guessing at what they were saying.
aim arrive connive excel guess nag niggle point rush sniff
jump out leap out
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed at. However, not all verbs with this structure are used in the passive. The following verbs are the ones which are most frequently passive.

fire guess hint laugh look marvel scoff shoot sneer sniff stare swear wonder work
Sniff occurs in the passive in the expression not to be sniffed at, and wonder in the expression not to be wondered at.
The rewards for those who reach the chief executive's office are not to be sniffed at.

c) Phrasal verb patterns are the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb. The passive pattern, be V-ed P at, does not often occur.

Other structures

With three verbs, the prepositional phrase is an Adjunct. Only one noun, or a very restricted range of nouns, can occur in the prepositional phrase.

  • He was wearing a grey cotton jacket and a shirt which was fraying at the collar.
  • Marie would cook a meal for them and Jean would wait at table.
    fray (at the edges/collar/cuffs) froth (at the mouth) wait (at table)
Other related patterns
V at n prep/adv

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with at, which is followed by another prepositional phrase or an adverb indicating manner. Two senses of the verb look have this pattern.

  • Miss Leon was driving very slowly. McKee looked at her impatiently.
  • Look at it from their point of view.
look 171
V at n to-inf

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with at, which is followed by a to-infinitive clause. The phrasal verb pattern is V P at n to-inf.

Verbs with this pattern are concerned with loudly, angrily, or forcefully telling someone to do something. The prepositional phrase indicates the hearer.

  • They were firing. I screamed at them to stop.
  • I shouted at her to run.
bark bawl bellow hiss holler scream screech shout snap yell go on keep on
V at n with quote
14 V between pl-n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of the preposition between and a plural noun group.

This pattern has one structure:

  • Verb with prepositional Object
    She alternated between anger and depression.
V between pl-n
  Verb groupbetweenplural noun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Many customerscannot distinguishbetweenpsychiatrists and other psychotherapists.
Iliaisebetweenthese groups.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `arbitrate' group 2 The `differentiate' group 3 The `alternate' group
1 The `arbitrate' group

These verbs are concerned with sorting out or helping the relationship between two people or groups.

  • Any community contains conflicting interests within it and it is the politician's job to arbitrate between them.
  • I've been instructed to liaise between my chief and the Branch and to assist where I can.
172
adjudicate arbitrate liaise mediate
2 The `differentiate' group

These verbs are concerned with recognizing the difference between two or more things.

  • It's difficult to differentiate between chemical weapons and chemicals for peaceful industrial use.
differentiate discriminate distinguish
3 The `alternate' group

These verbs are concerned with doing, being, or using two things alternately.

  • The weather alternated between warm sunshine and chilling showers that left the moorland climbs streaming with water.
  • His canvassing had found many Conservative voters wavering between defection and abstention.
alternate flit oscillate vacillate waver
4 The `range' group

These verbs indicate that something has a range of values. The noun group following the preposition is always two co-ordinated amounts, indicating a minimum and a maximum value. This pattern is V between pl-amount.

  • Prices range between $30 and $50.
  • Estimates of its population varied between 300 and 500.
hover oscillate range vary
5 Verbs with other meanings

There are two other verbs which have this pattern.

  • A senior official of the World Wildlife Fund said that world leaders do not have to choose between economic growth and protecting the environment.
  • Now based in London, she and her French husband commute between London and Paris while their son is at Westminster public school.
choose commute
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has no passive.

15 V by amount
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of the preposition by and a noun group indicating an amount.

This pattern has one structure:

  • Verb with Adjunct
    Their incomes have dropped by 30 per cent.
V by amount
  Verb groupbyamount
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
The overall number of jobsdecreasedby1000.
The Redswere leadingby two runs.
Phrasal verbs: V P by amount
  Verb groupParticlebyamount
SubjectVerb   Adjunct  
Farm productionwentdownby4.2 per cent.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `increase' and `decrease' group 2 The `win' and `lose' group 3 The `overrun' group
1 The `increase' and `decrease' group

These verbs indicate that a quantity or level increases or decreases. The prepositional phrase indicates the size of the increase or decrease.

  • The price of petrol at Shell garages is coming down by more than four pence a gallon.
  • The number of women killing men has decreased by 25 per cent in the last few years.
  • Sales went up by 0.1 per cent last month as consumers began to shop early for Christmas.
  • They expect the number of people emigrating this year to increase by nearly 50 per cent.
climb decline decrease depreciate dip dive drop fall increase jump plummet plunge rise shrink sink slide slip slump soar surge swell tumble widen
come down go down go up shoot up
2 The `win' and `lose' group

These verbs are concerned with winning and losing. The prepositional phrase indicates the difference between the score of the winner or loser and their competitor, or the nearest competitor.

174 The government lost by one vote.
  • In the event, Cambridge won by fifteen points.
lead lose win
3 The `overrun' group

These verbs indicate that an amount that was set is exceeded. The prepositional phrase indicates how much extra time or money is involved.

  • The meeting, which overran by more than an hour, was dominated by the crisis besetting the European exchange rate mechanism.
  • An accounting mix-up has allowed programme makers to overspend by about *5350 million so far this year.
overrun overspend
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This pattern has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same, except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Other related patterns
V by amount prep

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of by and a noun group indicating an amount. This is followed by another prepositional phrase.

  • They voted by 80 per cent in favour of privatisation.
vote
V by amount to-inf

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of by and a noun group indicating an amount. This is followed by a to-infinitive clause.

  • The national committee has voted by seventeen to five to wind up the party.
vote
16 V by -ing
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of the preposition by and an `-ing' clause.

This pattern has one structure:

175 *Verb with Adjunct
They responded by ordering him to go home.
V by -ing
  Verb groupby-ing clause
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
Shebeganbytelling me what the exhibition was about.
The fansretaliatedbypelting them with plastic chairs.
Phrasal verbs: V P by -ing
  Verb groupParticleby-ing clause
SubjectVerb   Adjunct  
All of themstartedoutbydefying a long-established authority.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `start' and `finish' group 2 The `reciprocate' group 3 Verbs with other meanings
1 The `start' and `finish' group

These verbs are concerned with starting or finishing. The prepositional phrase indicates what someone does at the beginning or end of a task, session, or period of time.

  • The Chairman finished by thanking us and reminding us that the decision of his committee on the listing of a company was final.
  • Start by listing randomly all the ideas you want to include.
  • She started off by breeding budgerigars and cockatiels, and then gradually progressed to the larger parrots and parrot-like birds.
begin close end finish open start
finish off finish up start off start out
2 The `reciprocate' group

These verbs are concerned with responding to something that has been done, or compensating for it. The prepositional phrase indicates what someone does in response or as compensation.

This is a productive use: many other verbs which involve a response to an action or situation sometimes have this pattern. The verbs listed here are the ones which are most frequently used in this way.

  • In hot, dry and windy weather, water evaporates from the leaves of plants which in turn compensate by taking more up through their roots.
  • On Thursday he will reciprocate by entertaining the Queen to a fabulous banquet at the hotel.
176
atone compensate counter react reciprocate reply respond retaliate
3 Verbs with other meanings

There are two verbs which have the pattern V by -ing/n. The verb live is followed by by and an `-ing' clause or noun group which indicates a means by which someone gets the money or food that they need to live. The verb profit is followed by by and an `-ing' clause or noun group which indicates the source of profit or benefit for someone.

  • Many people were forced to live by their wits or to tramp about the country looking for work.
  • Their aim is to profit by buying replacement shares later at a lower price.
live profit
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Other related patterns
V by n

See `Verbs with other meanings' above.

17 V for n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of for and a noun group. With some verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause. The passive pattern is be V-ed for.

This pattern has two structures:

  • Structure I: Verb with prepositional Complement
    She could pass for a much younger woman.
  • Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
    He longed for death.
Structure I: Verb with prepositional Complement
V for n
  Verb groupfornoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Complement  
Shecould passfora man.
A shelfservedfora desk.
177 Verbs with this structure are concerned with seeming to be something or functioning as something. These verbs are link verbs (see Chapter 5).
  • Is this what passes for wit among college students these days?
  • We were close to a small deserted chateau which it was thought would serve for a temporary prison.
pass serve

In the case of pass, the preposition for is sometimes followed by an adjective or by a number indicating an age. These patterns are V for adj and V for num.

  • The six-hour long drama focuses in the main on her own personal story - the trials and tribulations of a mixed-race woman who could pass for White.
  • Before I was 50 I looked absurdly young, could pass for 25.
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Complement

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Complement.

b) This structure has no passive.

Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
Active voice: V for n/-ing
  Verb groupfornoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Iapologizedforwasting his time.
Ilongedfora sister.
The new presidentoptedforthe toughest plan.
Sheworksforthe Medical Research Council.
Passive voice: be V-ed for
  Verb groupfor  
SubjectVerbPrepositionAdjunct (optional)
Most Alzheimer's victimsare caredforby their spouses.
The testsare paidforby the National Health Service.
Phrasal verbs: V P for n
  Verb groupParticlefornoun group
SubjectVerb   Adjunct  
  Lookoutfororiginal Fifties party dresses.
His deputyhad to standinforhim.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

178 II.1 The `ask' group
II.2 The `compete' group
II.3 The `work' group
II.4 The `deputize' group
II.5 The `volunteer' group
II.6 The `argue' group
II.7 The `opt' group
II.8 The `yearn' group
II.9 The `care' group
II.10 The `compensate' group
II.11 The `search' group
II.12 The `prepare' group
II.13 The `pay' group
II.14 The `plan' group
II.15 The `stop' group
II.16 The `wait' group
II.17 The `head' group
II.18 The `last' group
II.19 The `sell' group
II.20 Verbs with other meanings
II.1 The `ask' group

These verbs are concerned with trying to get something. This includes:

  • asking for something
  • trying to get a job or position e.g. audition, stand
  • taking action in order to obtain something

We also include here the verb gasp, as in gasping for breath.

  • `No payment was offered and none was asked for,' he says.
  • You know what to do. And don't let up till they're begging for mercy.
  • Then he paid tribute to all those who'd campaigned for his release.
  • During the war the first floor was occupied by the Ministry of Food and it was there that we all had to queue up for our ration books.
  • So fill in the coupon and send off for your stencils now.
  • Michel Rocard first stood for the presidency in 1969.
  • The episode also holds important lessons for investment bankers touting for business in emerging markets.
advertise agitate aim angle appeal apply ask audition bay beg bid call campaign canvass claim clamour crusade demonstrate fight file fish gasp holler howl lobby negotiate panhandle petition pitch plead ply pray press push queue register ring roar run scrabble scream scrounge send shout stand strike strive subscribe tender tout try wail wish
hold out put in queue up send away send off send out stick out try out
II.2 The `compete' group

These verbs are concerned with competing for something: that is, two people or groups of people are trying to get the same thing. These are reciprocal verbs (see Chapter 6) and have a plural Subject with this pattern.

  • This means that schools and universities have to compete for pupils.
  • You seem to be the centre of attraction this week, with suitors vying for your attention.
179
compete contend jockey jostle struggle tussle vie

These verbs also have the patterns V with n for n and V for n with n (see Chapter 6).

II.3 The `work' group

These verbs are concerned with doing something for someone. This includes:

  • working for someone
  • doing something on someone's behalf e.g. act, speak

We also include here sign, which indicates that someone agrees to work for someone.

This is a productive use: any verb which involves doing something for someone can be used with this pattern. For example, you can cook for someone or sing for someone. The verbs listed here are the ones which are most frequently used in this way.

  • The lawyer who acted for some of the detainees is Mr Peter Cathcart.
  • I'm canvassing for the Conservative Party.
  • I'm always having to cover up for her and lie to my father.
  • Billy Davies, the mid-field player who joined Leicester City from St Mirren in the summer, is to sign for the Scottish Premier Division side Dunfermline.
  • In 1907, the year after Picasso's famous Cubist portrait of Gertrude Stein, Felix Vallotton approached her to ask if she would sit for him.
  • He works for a local heavy engineering firm.
In the case of fend, the noun group following the preposition is always a reflexive pronoun. This pattern is V for pron-refl.
  • More and more young children were left to fend for themselves after school.
act babysit caddie canvass char clerk collect cover fend fight guest model play sign sit slave speak spy stump work write
cover up
II.4 The `deputize' group

These verbs are concerned with replacing someone who is absent and performing their duties.

  • Suppose your boss is going to be away from the office and you have to deputise for her.
  • Then someone rang and asked if I would stand in for Frank Bough and do the Sunday cricket on BBC2.
cover deputize substitute
fill in stand in
II.5 The `volunteer' group

These verbs are concerned with offering or arranging to do something, or going somewhere to do something. The prepositional phrase indicates the activity or work involved.

180 He hasn't shown up for work. He hasn't been at his apartment. No one has heard from him.
  • She later signed up for an arts/law course at Queensland University of Technology.
  • On his return to England in 1950, he volunteered for service with the Parachute Regiment and joined the 2nd Battalion as a company commander.
enrol report volunteer
report back show up sign on sign up turn out
II.6 The `argue' group

These verbs are concerned with supporting or defending someone or something.

  • Most ministers argued for a strengthening of ties between the two institutions.
  • The president of Chile said he would intercede for me with Castro.
  • Sometimes this means learning to stand up for yourself and your own needs by saying no to family and friends after a lifetime of saying yes.
In the case of argue and vote, the preposition for is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The poll showed 42 per cent would vote for ratifying the treaty, with 32 per cent against.
argue declare demonstrate intercede pray root testify vote
speak up stand up stick up
II.7 The `opt' group

These verbs are concerned with choosing.

  • The other big question is whether to go for a fixed rate mortgage.
  • None of the children has opted for farming as a career.
The preposition for is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • I wanted to be a dancer but my father said I couldn't possibly do that, so instead I settled for getting married and having children.
go opt plump settle
II.8 The `yearn' group

These verbs are concerned with wanting something.

  • I'm dying for a breath of fresh air. I've been two whole days indoors.
  • It's probably the best that can be hoped for in the circumstances.
  • People weren't exactly queuing up for the job when Andy Roxburgh was appointed in 1986.
  • I yearned for something new.
ache crave be dying hanker hope hunger itch long lust pine pray be spoiling thirst wish yearn
queue up
181
II.9 The `care' group

These verbs are concerned with feeling an emotion. The prepositional phrase indicates who or what the emotion relates to.

  • He did not care for the place.
  • He fled on Friday, saying he feared for his life.
  • But, I'll tell you this much, Doug: I feel for people who don't know Christ, because they don't know what they're missing.
  • Meanwhile, several houses away, widows and bereaved mothers mourned for loved ones who would never come home.
care (not) care fear feel grieve mourn pine
II.10 The `compensate' group

These verbs are concerned with compensating for or balancing an action or situation in some way. We include here claim, which indicates that someone asks for compensation.

  • You won't be able to claim for damage to your car if you have third-party cover only.
  • The government has always said that it will raise salaries to try to compensate for the price increases.
With all these verbs except retaliate, the preposition for is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • I apologized for disturbing him and held out the cassette. `I thought you ought to have this.'
answer apologize atone claim compensate expiate pay retaliate
make up
II.11 The `search' group

These verbs are concerned with looking for something or being alert for something.

  • They continued to argue that with advances in technology it might be possible to drill for oil without causing environmental damage.
  • She leaned and groped for the lamp switch beside the bed.
  • Always look for other ways of managing difficult situations.
  • Meanwhile, the band are searching for an appropriate venue for a special festive show.
  • Watch out for pests and disease.
check dig divine dowse drill explore feel forage fumble grope hunt listen look pan probe prospect be questing rummage scan scavenge scout scrabble scramble screen search shop trawl watch
cast around/about ferret around/about listen out look out rummage about rummage around/round scout around/round scrabble around/about shop around watch out
182 If a verb in the list above also has the pattern V prep or V prep/adv, these patterns can be combined, with the prepositional phrase beginning with for coming either after or before the other prepositional phrase or the adverb.
  • I rummage in my suitcase for a tie.
  • I've been looking for you everywhere.
II.12 The `prepare' group

These verbs are concerned with preparing for something, for example an exam or a sports event.

  • Right now, the Army is gearing up for a recruitment drive in Bay Area high schools from January through April.
  • The crew of the space shuttle Atlantis is preparing for the ride back to Earth tomorrow.
  • Sally from Gloucester wants to say hullo to everybody who's revising for their geography exam in Swansea on Friday.
  • McCullough, aged 22, who gave up his job to train for the Olympics, will fight Joel Casamayor.
cram prepare read rehearse revise study swot train
gear up
II.13 The `pay' group

These verbs are concerned with paying for something. We include here save and save up, which are concerned with accumulating money to pay for something.

  • They want us to pay for services we don't use.
  • It took me 15 years to save up for my bike and now I am a happy man.
  • And to make matters worse, new car safety laws could mean drivers having to shell out for complete new windscreens.
overpay pay save
cough up fork out pony up save up shell out
II.14 The `plan' group

These verbs are concerned with making plans or taking things into account. The prepositional phrase indicates a factor in a plan or analysis, or something that occurs or is provided as the result of a plan.

  • The study shows that, after meteorological factors are allowed for, the distribution of certain sicknesses among trees `was uniquely attributable to pollution'.
  • He hadn't bargained for the intervention of the stock exchange.
  • They are planning for growth rather than decline.
allow arrange bargain budget cater legislate plan provide
II.15 The `stop' group

These verbs are concerned with stopping doing something for a period of time. The prepositional phrase indicates what takes place in the meantime or how long the break is.

  • The United States Senate has adjourned for the year after passing three major bills in its final hours.
183 It will be published later this month before MPs break up for the summer recess.
  • Let's stop for lunch now.
adjourn break pause recess stop
break up
II.16 The `wait' group

These verbs are concerned with waiting for someone or something.

  • If he's there, bring him in. And if he's not there yet, then stick around and wait for him.
  • She washes his clothes and, when he's late, she waits up for him in the kitchen.
wait
stand by wait around wait in wait up
II.17 The `head' group

These verbs are concerned with moving, travelling, or leaving. The prepositional phrase indicates the person's destination.

  • He spun around and headed for the door.
  • My wife and I are leaving for Mexico next month.
depart head leave make run scramble
II.18 The `last' group

These verbs are used when indicating the duration or size of something. The noun group following the preposition for is always an amount. This pattern is V for amount.

This is a productive use: any verb indicating a continuing activity can be used with this pattern. For example, you can talk for half an hour or drive for days. The verbs listed here are the ones which are most frequently used in this way.

  • The French coastline extends for some 5500 km and constitutes a highly coveted and pressurized environment.
  • This effect can last for several days after the treatment session.
endure extend last run stretch
II.19 The `sell' group

These verbs are used when indicating the price that is paid for something. The noun group following the preposition for is always an amount. This pattern is V for amount.

  • Fresh-picked morel mushrooms can go for up to 25 dollars a pound.
  • His paintings sell for between *535000 and *5312000.
go retail sell
184
II.20 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this structure.

  • That dream came true when the house came up for sale and the couple realised they could just about afford it.
  • For some weeks the baby was cared for in the Convent of St Sulpice.
  • Thus equipped, I again entered for the annual English Festival of Spoken Poetry competition.
  • Come on, Frank, let's go for a walk.
In the case of speak, the noun group following the preposition is always a reflexive pronoun. This pattern is V for pron-refl.
  • His record speaks for itself. He is a tremendous manager and I have found him to be a charming man.
In the case of count, the noun group following the preposition is always an amount. This pattern is V for amount.
  • What about us? Do our feelings count for nothing?
care cater count dress enter go insure live qualify speak
come through come up
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed for. However, not all verbs with this structure are used in the passive. The following verbs are the ones which are most frequently passive.

aim allow apply ask atone bid budget care cater compensate compete fight hope look pay pray send vote

c) Phrasal verb patterns are the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb. The passive pattern is be V-ed P for, but it does not often occur.

Other related patterns
V for adj
See Structure I above.
V for num
See Structure I above.
V for n prep/adv
See meaning group II.11 above. 185
V for n to-inf

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with for, and a to-infinitive clause. The phrasal verb pattern is V P for n to-inf.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `ask' group 2 The `long' group 3 The `wait' group
1 The `ask' group

These verbs are concerned with asking for something to be done or to happen. We include here motion and gesture, which indicate that someone communicates a request by using a gesture.

  • She got up from her desk and motioned for Wade to follow her.
  • They are pressing for the government to implement the electoral promises of job creation and land reform as a first priority.
In the case of ask and campaign, the to-infinitive is usually passive.
  • The Minister responsible for Indian Affairs in Quebec has now asked for the plans to be delayed until the matter is settled.
agitate appeal ask call campaign gesture holler motion petition plead pray press push shout
2 The `long' group

These verbs are concerned with wanting something to happen or be done.

  • All the women will be dying for you to make a mistake.
  • He longed for the winter to be over.
be dying long pray yearn
3 The `wait' group

These verbs are concerned with waiting for something to happen.

  • I don't want to sit around waiting for the phone to ring.
wait wait around
4 The `arrange' group

These verbs are concerned with making arrangements so that something happens or is done.

  • `What about our baggage?' `Don't worry. I'll arrange for it to be sent direct to the property when it is unloaded.'
186 arrange fix
V for n with n
See Chapter 6.
V with n for n
See Chapter 6.
V prep/adv for n
See meaning group II.11 above.
18 V from n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of from and a noun group. With some verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause. In Structure I, the preposition is followed by an `-ing' form.

This pattern has three structures:

  • Structure I: Verbs in phase
    He refrained from making any comment.
  • Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
    We will all benefit from this change.
  • Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
    The train emerged from the tunnel.
Structure I: Verbs in phase
  Verb groupfrom-ing  
SubjectVerb     Completive
Finneydoes not flinchfromportrayingthe cruelty of this period.
Hehas not shrunkfromfacingthe challenges.

These verbs are concerned with not doing something.

  • The incident occurred in the late Seventies, so I shall refrain from naming the school involved.
  • Sometimes we shrink from making decisions, not out of fear but from sheer confusion.
  • So far police and riot troops have shied away from using physical force to break the strikers.
abstain desist flinch forbear keep recoil refrain retire retreat shirk shrink withdraw
shy away

When the preposition is followed by a noun group, these verbs have Structure II (see meaning group II.8.).

187
Structure information: Verbs in phase

a) The verb is followed by the preposition from and the `-ing' form of another verb. The verbs are in phase, and together form a complex verb group. This means that the actions or states expressed by the two verbs cannot be separated from each other. For example, if you refrain from saying something, the refraining and the not saying are not two processes, but one.

The complex verb group is followed by a group, phrase, or clause which completes the pattern of the second verb. In the structure table above, this is called a Completive. For example, if the second verb is normally followed by a noun group, then the Completive of the complex verb group will be a noun group.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) There is only one phrasal verb with this structure, shy away. The pattern is V P from -ing.

Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
V from n/-ing
  Verb groupfromnoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Shecould borrowfromher family.
Fitnesscomesfromworking against gravity.
Much of the instabilitystemsfromthe economic effects of the war.
Phrasal verbs: V P from n
  Verb groupParticlefromnoun group
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object  
Heshiedawayfromviolence.
Theystandoutfromthe crowd.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

II.1 The `result' group II.4 The `drink' group II.7 The `differ' group
II.2 The `derive' group II.5 The `benefit' group II.8 The `abstain' and `withdraw' group
II.3 The `borrow' group II.6 The `suffer' and `recover' group II.9 The `backtrack' group
II.1 The `result' group

These verbs are concerned with resulting. The prepositional phrase indicates the cause of the thing or situation indicated by the Subject.

  • Alzheimer's is a complex disease and is probably unlikely to result from a defect in a single human gene.
188 I made that journey with increasing hate in my heart. The hatred sprang from fear. The preposition from is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The major difficulty in putting your skills to work elsewhere is the inertia which stems from being bored all day.
In the case of arise, come, and result, the preposition from is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V from n -ing.
  • All cultural innovation comes from cultures mixing.
  • Conflict results from A trying to grab something belonging to B.
arise come develop flow follow result spring stem
II.2 The `derive' group

These verbs are used to state the place of origin of a person or thing, or the source of something.

  • She comes from Wiltshire and lives in London.
  • The term `cannibalism' derives from the Spanish `canibal', meaning `savage'.
come derive hail
II.3 The `borrow' group

These verbs are concerned with getting something from a source. The thing that is obtained is not explicitly mentioned. We include here the verbs extrapolate and generalize, which indicate that someone derives a conclusion from a fact or set of facts.

  • That's why it's so expensive to borrow from finance companies.
  • Don't generalize from one example. It's bad science.
  • While he is happy to import from abroad, he regrets that European fruit growers show more enthusiasm for their heritage than their counterparts here.
  • In his very last lecture, he quoted from a famous medieval lament, where the poet expresses his shock and pain on the death of his prince.
borrow copy crib extrapolate generalize import plagiarize quote
II.4 The `drink' group

These verbs are concerned with eating and drinking. The prepositional phrase indicates the container the food or drink is in.

  • The mechanic drank from the bottle with enthusiasm.
drink eat sip
II.5 The `benefit' group

These verbs are concerned with getting a benefit of some kind. The prepositional phrase indicates what produces the benefit.

  • Many areas of the world would actually gain from global warming.
  • We should learn from their experience and change to the type of system they have.
The preposition from is often followed by an `-ing' clause. 189 I'm sure our players would benefit from having fewer matches.
benefit gain learn profit
II.6 The `suffer' and `recover' group

These verbs are concerned with having or recovering from something such as an illness, shock, or disappointment.

  • He is still recuperating from his recent operation and undertaking only essential duties.
  • He's been suffering from a niggling shoulder injury.
In the case of recover, reel, smart, and bounce back, the preposition from is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • Leeds never recovered from losing to Rangers.
convalesce die recover recuperate reel smart suffer
bounce back
II.7 The `differ' group

These verbs are concerned with being or becoming different. In most cases, the Subject and the noun group following the preposition refer to different things. In the case of evolve, the Subject and the noun group following the preposition refer to the same thing at different stages of its development. The verbs differ, diverge, and grow apart are reciprocal verbs (see Chapter 6).

  • The culture of the south differs from that of the north in many ways.
  • Mammals evolved from reptiles called cynodonts about 220 million years ago.
  • They're now getting rich quick and growing away from the audience they once purported to represent.
  • Make your advertisement stand out from all the others by having it printed in bold type or put in a box.
differ diverge evolve
grow apart grow away stand out stick out
II.8 The `abstain' and `withdraw' group

These verbs are concerned with not doing something. This includes:

  • not wanting to do something e.g. flinch, shrink
  • stopping doing something or being involved in something e.g. desist, withdraw
  • They abstained from meat because they believed that killing life injured the spirit within.
  • But he stressed he had no intention of retiring from politics yet.
  • He never shrank from a fight, and he actively sought new challenges.
  • A woman with her own income is no longer dependent. She can walk away from an impossible situation.
  • This hurtful allegation led him to withdraw from public life.
190
abstain desist flinch forbear recoil refrain retire retreat shirk shrink withdraw
shy away stand aside walk away
See also Structure I above.
II.9 The `backtrack' group

These verbs are concerned with changing your plans, your position on something, or your way of doing something. We include here digress, which indicates that someone stops saying what they had planned to say and talks about something else.

  • The committee has backed away from a plan to put a legal limit on credit card rates.
  • Lufthansa's decision to backtrack from the imposition of a new pay structure means that its staff will continue to enjoy among the highest salaries paid in the airline business.
  • Mr Gorbachev said that the party would not deviate from the course outlined in his radical programme document.
  • She digressed from her prepared speech to praise President Havel of Czechoslovakia.
  • We want to get away from the politics of outdated dogmatism and class confrontation.
back-pedal backtrack depart deviate digress waver
back away back off get away pull back turn away
II.10 The `detract' group

These verbs indicate that something makes something else seem less good or impressive.

  • It is important that written communications are well presented, as bad presentation can detract from your message.
  • The theory of Galileo and Newton has now been largely replaced by relativity and quantum theory, but this does not take away from their achievement.
detract
take away
II.11 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this structure.

  • You will also be able to choose from a range of topics such as Business Language, Language in the Media, and Grammar.
  • You haven't heard from Mona, have you?
  • It was necessary to step back from the project and look at it as a whole.
  • Later today the British Prime Minister, Mr Major, begins his first visit to Washington since he took over from Mrs Thatcher.
choose date dissent hear
step back take over
191
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive with the pattern be V-ed from, but it does not often occur. The only verb that is frequently used in the passive is hear 5.
They have not been heard from since.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
V from n
  Verb groupfromnoun group  
SubjectVerbAdjunct   Adjunct (optional)
Heescapedfromprisonon Saturday.
Gales of laughterissuedfromthe classroom.  
Phrasal verbs: V P from n
  Verb groupParticlefromnoun group  
SubjectVerb   Adjunct   Adjunct (optional)
Sprayroseupfromthe surface of the water.  
He's runawayfromhometwice.

Verbs with this structure are all concerned with leaving or coming from a place, group, thing, person, or position. The Subject can be animate or inanimate. We include here verbs such as emanate and radiate which indicate that a quality is strongly shown by someone. The verbs part and separate 5 are reciprocal verbs (see Chapter 6).

  • Smoke belched from the steelworks in the background.
  • Special units have been set up to search for Lithuanians who have defected from the Soviet army.
  • The service will depart from Inverness at 10.15, calling at principal stations to Edinburgh, before returning north at 15.35.
  • She snaps photos of the buckled floors and the plaster that has fallen away from the walls.
  • She's going to destroy me. I have to get away from her.
  • I have parted from my wife by mutual agreement.
  • Restlessness radiated from him.
abscond arise ascend belch break commute defect depart desert detach disembark disengage diverge divert drain eject emanate emerge emigrate escape exit fade fall graduate haemorrhage immigrate issue part peel puff radiate rebound recede recoil return rise secede separate (not) stir transfer vanish withdraw
192
back away break away fall away fall back get away pull away rise up run away split off
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Other related patterns
V from amount
See V from amount to amount below.
V from colour to colour
See V from n to n below.
V from n into n
See V from n to n below.
V from n to n, V P from n to n

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with from and another prepositional phrase beginning with to. With the phrasal verbs, there is a particle after the verb.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `switch' group 2 The `change' group 3 The `range' group
1 The `switch' group

These verbs are concerned with stopping doing, using, or dealing with one thing and starting to do, use, or deal with another.

  • The plan is for the crop drier to change over from heating oil to 80 per cent home-grown fuel by 1995.
  • I find it easy to switch from one role to the other.
  • Health is another reason for turning from tap water to mineral water.
The prepositions are sometimes followed by `-ing' clauses.
  • Soon Jimmy and John graduate from selling stolen shirts to selling guns.
change flit graduate lurch move skip switch turn change over 193
2 The `change' group

These verbs indicate that something becomes different.

  • The mood of the demonstrators changed from outrage to jubilation as they chanted `Orlando for mayor'.
In the case of turn 17, the prepositions are both followed by a noun or adjective group indicating a colour. This pattern is V from colour to colour.
  • We stretch our newly exercised limbs and watch the sky turn from pink to golden.
change evolve graduate metamorphose turn

With all these verbs except turn 17, the second preposition is sometimes into instead of to. This pattern is V from n into n.

  • The group is having to metamorphose from a loose collection of businesses into a fully integrated multinational.
  • For six months we had lived with the agony of watching our baby turn from a healthy, happy child into a sad creature with a distended stomach and wasted limbs.
3 The `range' group

These verbs are concerned with range. The prepositional phrases indicate the two extremes of a range or scale.

  • Hundreds of them were given expert advice on problems ranging from debt to credit card management.
  • The fee can vary from 0.5 per cent to around 3 per cent or more, depending on the size and bargaining power of the retailer.
range stretch vary
4 The `last' group

These verbs are concerned with duration. The prepositional phrases indicate the times when something begins and ends.

  • We are now in the peak hay fever season, which lasts from May to July.
extend last stretch
5 Verbs with other meanings

There is one other verb which has this pattern.

  • It has appeared very difficult for such diseases to pass from one species to another.
pass
V from amount to amount, V P from amount to amount

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of from and a noun group referring to an amount, and another prepositional phrase which consists of to and a noun group referring to an amount. With the phrasal verbs, there is a particle after the verb.

194 Verbs with this pattern indicate that a quantity or level increases or decreases. The prepositional phrase with from indicates the original quantity or level; the prepositional phrase with to indicates the final quantity or level.
  • My wages will come down from just under *53270 a week to about *53210.
  • The top income tax rate would go up from 31 to 33 percent.
  • Inflation has increased from 8.9 per cent to 9 per cent.
  • Average starting salaries for graduates are forecast to rise from *5312,300 to *5312,700, according to the survey by Incomes Data Services.
balloon climb decline decrease dip dive drop fall increase jump mushroom plummet plunge rise shrink sink slide slip slump soar surge swell tumble widen come down go down go up shoot up

Some of these verbs occasionally have the pattern V from amount, in clauses such as Trading volumes have plummeted from their 1987 peaks where the original amount is not specified. However, it is much more usual for both amounts to be specified.

19 V in n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of in and a noun group. With some verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause. In Structure I, the preposition is followed by an `-ing' form.

This pattern has three structures:

  • Structure I: Verbs in phase
    He succeeded in catching the bus.
  • Structure II: Verb with prepositional Complement
    The secret lies in planning ahead.
  • Structure III: Verb with prepositional Object
    They believe in democracy.
  • Structure IV: Verb with Adjunct
    They were wallowing in the mud.
Structure I: Verbs in phase
V in -ing
  Verb groupin-ing  
SubjectVerb     Completive
Drugscan helpinloweringthe level of cholesterol.
Hedid not succeedinobtaininga suspension of the boycott.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

195 I.1 The `participate' group
I.2 The `persist' group
I.3 Verbs with other meanings
I.1 The `participate' group

These verbs are concerned with helping to do something or taking part in an activity together with other people.

  • We hope to be able to assist in safeguarding the future of the Leyland plant in Lancashire.
  • People want to participate in making decisions.
aid assist collaborate collude help join participate

When the preposition is followed by a noun group, these verbs have Structure III (see meaning group III.5 below).

I.2 The `persist' group

These verbs are concerned with deliberately continuing to do something.

  • Yet, oddly enough, we persist in thinking of our culture as morally superior.
persevere persist

When the preposition is followed by a noun group, these verbs have Structure III ( see meaning group III.9 below).

I.3 Verbs with other meanings

There are two other verbs with this structure.

  • He indeed liked to play cards and is said to have indulged in playing poker twice a week.
  • Many collectors wanted to own the picture but Queen Victoria succeeded in buying it.
indulge succeed

When the preposition is followed by a noun group, these verbs have Structure III ( see meaning groups III.5 and III.6 below).

Structure information: Verbs in phase

a) The verb is followed by the preposition in and the `-ing' form of another verb. The verbs are in phase, and together form a complex verb group. This means that the actions or states expressed by the two verbs cannot be separated from each other. For example, if you succeed in creating something, the succeeding and the creating are not two processes, but one.

The complex verb group is followed by a group, phrase, or clause which completes the pattern of the second verb. In the structure table above, this is called a Completive. For example, if the second verb is normally followed by a noun group, then the Completive of the complex verb group will be a noun group.

b) This structure has no passive.

196
Structure II: Verb with prepositional Complement
V in n/-ing
  Verb groupinnoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Complement  
Holinessconsistsindoing God's will joyfully.
The country's only hopelayinthe restitution of its monarchy.

These verbs indicate what something abstract consists of or involves. They are all link verbs (see Chapter 5).

  • As with so many other aspects of a relationship, the solution lies in communication.
  • The greatness of this team resides in its ability to cover up for its missing players.
The preposition in is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • It is, everybody likes to think, a huge, secretive bureaucracy whose only pleasure consists in producing rules to prevent people from doing things.
consist lie reside
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Complement.

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Complement.

b) This structure has no passive.

Structure III: Verb with prepositional Object
V in n
  Verb groupinnoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Ibelieveinregulation.
Theywould interveneinquarrels and crisis situations.
Shelecturesineconomics.
Sherejoicedineach achievement.
Phrasal verbs: V P in n
  Verb groupParticleinnoun group
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object  
Hebrokeoutina rash.
Iused to dressupinmy Mum's clothes.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

III.1 The `delight' group III.4 The `deal' group III.7 The `abound' group
III.2 The `believe' group III.5 The `participate' group III.8 The `erupt' group
III.3 The `lecture' group 197 III.6 The `succeed' group III.9 Verbs with other meanings
III.1 The `delight' group

These verbs are concerned with enjoying something or feeling good about something.

  • He stretched his limbs slightly, luxuriating in the warmth.
  • Soviet journalists revelled in their new freedom to probe and to criticize.
The preposition in is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • He delights in stirring up controversy and strife.
bask delight exult glory luxuriate rejoice revel wallow
III.2 The `believe' group

These verbs are concerned with belief or agreement.

  • The shadow spokesman for Defence agreed, although most other Conservatives were still unwilling to acquiesce in these plans.
  • I don't believe in coincidences.
acquiesce believe concur disbelieve trust
III.3 The `lecture' group

These verbs are concerned with learning or teaching a subject.

  • As well as accepting commissions for her own designs, Karen lectures in Fine Craft Design at the University of Ulster.
  • I majored in psychology at Hunter College and taught elementary school in New York City.
  • There are an increasing number of historians and sociologists specialising in sport.
graduate lecture major qualify specialize train tutor
III.4 The `deal' group

These verbs are concerned with trading or work. The prepositional phrase indicates what goods or substances are involved. We include here work, in the sense of using a material to create something.

  • He deals in antiques and fine art.
  • Annie Boursot specialises in decorative yet affordable silverware.
  • Some have never worked in clay before; others are among the world's leading potters.
In the case of specialize, the preposition in is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause. The prepositional phrase indicates what activity someone's work involves.
  • He specializes in treating epileptics and schizophrenics.
198
deal specialize speculate trade traffic work
III.5 The `participate' group

These verbs are concerned with being involved in something or taking part in an activity. This includes:

  • helping to do something
  • interfering
  • You do not have the right to interfere in our internal affairs.
  • He has not yet announced whether he will stand in the election.
  • Last year she starred in Channel Four's The Orchid House.
act aid appear assist collaborate collude compete connive co-star dabble engage feature figure help indulge interfere intervene invest join meddle officiate overindulge partake participate share stand star
See also Structure I above.
III.6 The `succeed' group

These verbs are concerned with doing something successfully or unsuccessfully.

  • Local residents had failed in an attempt to have the march banned.
  • The United States sent in 28,000 troops last December in a bid to help the UN succeed in its aim.
In the case of excel, the preposition in is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • To reach senior positions, you will also need to excel in managing people, finances, facilities and time.
excel fail succeed
See also Structure I above.
III.7 The `abound' group

These verbs indicate that something or someone has a large quantity of something.

  • The books abound in social comedy.
  • These are normal people like you or me who gradually find themselves drowning in debt.
abound drown swim
III.8 The `erupt' group

These verbs indicate that something or someone suddenly starts to be in a different state. The range of noun groups used after in is quite restricted. The verbs erupt 5, break out, and come out are followed by phrases such as in spots and in a sweat; erupt 4 and burst out are followed by phrases such as in laughter; go up is followed by in flames and in smoke.

  • They either come out in spots, grow too much hair where they don't want it or go bald!
  • When she proudly displayed the cheese dispenser, the thirteen assembled men erupted in gales of laughter.
199 Her flat in St Johns Wood went up in flames along with her passport on the day she was to go abroad.
erupt
break out burst out come out go up
III.9 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this structure.

  • Developed in America, these enamel polymer paints come in 24 colours.
  • I wish she would confide in me.
  • She always dresses in black.
  • People dress up in costume, parade around the village, and dance to the music of sound trucks.
  • The uppermost leaves end in curious tendrils that are very attractive.
  • It was too beautiful a day to persist in such efforts.
  • The operation resulted in the arrest of one alleged kidnapper and the death of another from gunshot wounds.
In the case of result, the preposition in is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V in n -ing.
  • Disturbing your regular sleep pattern could result in you losing out on your `deep sleep' phase.
come confide dress end persevere persist result
dress up
See also Structure I above.
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed in. However, it does not often occur.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Structure IV: Verb with Adjunct
V in n
  Verb groupinnoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
Heenlistedinthe army.
Government bondshave falleninvalue.
200
Phrasal verbs: V P in n
  Verb groupParticleinnoun group
SubjectVerb   Adjunct  
Cigarettes and petrolwill goupinprice.
Strong feelings of pridewelledupinme.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

IV.1 The `lie' group IV.2 The `rise' group IV.3 The `increase' and `decrease' group
IV.1 The `lie' group

These verbs are concerned with being in or entering a thing, group, or situation, either physically or metaphorically.

  • He saw a package floating in the bay.
  • World champion Lance Armstrong is currently lying in third place.
  • It is not true, as some Labor promoters suggest, that all wisdom resides in their party.
  • Over the past few years, he has sat in Parliament as an independent Social Democrat.
appear assemble bask belong catch enlist enrol float go implant land lie move rank reside ride rise sit stick wallow
IV.2 The `rise' group

These verbs indicate that someone has a feeling or thought. The feeling or thought is the Subject.

  • It is something that will live in my memory for the rest of my life.
  • A slight hope rose in me. Perhaps she's at my place, I said to myself, she may have got there just after I left.
  • The telephone continued ringing and an inordinate anger welled up in him.
live lodge rise stir surge well
live on surge up well up
IV.3 The `increase' and `decrease' group

These verbs are concerned with increasing, decreasing, or being different. The prepositional phrase indicates what quality, for example size or value, the increase, decrease, or difference relates to.

  • Now that VCRs with hi-fi Nicam stereo have come down in price, they are worth considering if your budget allows it.
  • Since 1945 air forces have decreased in size but vastly increased in capability and complexity.
  • This frees manufacturers from relying on natural supplies, which can vary in quality.
201
change decline decrease differ double drop fall gain increase lessen rise shrink triple tumble vary
come down go down go up
IV.4 The `begin' and `end' group

These verbs are concerned with beginning and ending. The prepositional phrase indicates the situation or event at the beginning or end of something.

  • His tenure of office began in confusion when his predecessor refused to go.
  • The first flight nearly ended in disaster when, at 500 feet, a large section of the leading edge broke away from the upper wing.
In the case of culminate and end, the preposition in is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is Vin n -ing.
  • They had an argument, which culminated in Tom getting drunk and beating her in front of all the customers.
begin culminate end
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Other related patterns
V in n from amount to amount

The verb is followed by prepositional phrases beginning with in, from, and to. The prepositional phrases beginning with from and to indicate the two extremes of a range of values or qualities. The prepositions are usually followed by amounts, but they are sometimes followed by ordinary noun groups, adjectives, or colours. These patterns are V in n from n to n, V in n from adj to adj, and V in n from colour to colour.

The prepositional phrase beginning with in indicates what quality, for example size, colour, or age, is involved.

  • The victims ranged in age from 60 to 89.
  • This oil varies in colour from pale yellow to light green.
range vary
20 V in favour of n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of in favour of and a noun group. With some verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause. 202 This pattern has one structure:
  • Verb with prepositional Object
    He spoke in favour of the plan.
V in favour of n/-ing
  Verb groupin favour ofnoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
The majorityhave arguedin favour ofwaiting.
A GATT panelhas ruledin favour ofthe Americans.
More than 350 deputiesvotedin favour ofthe proposals.
Phrasal verbs: V P in favour of n/-ing
  Verb groupParticlein favour ofnoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object  
Theycameoutin favour ofsetting up a new party.
Hestooddownin favour ofhis friend.

Verbs with this pattern also have the pattern V in poss favour - that is, the verb can be followed by in, a possessive determiner such as his or their, and favour, as in The court ruled in his favour.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `speak' group 2 The `discriminate' group 3 The `stand down' group
1 The `speak' group

These verbs are concerned with saying that someone or something is good or right, deciding that someone or something is good or right, or showing support for someone or something.

  • It would be intolerable for Labour to block a referendum if the party conference clearly came out in favour of it.
  • Crowds surged through the streets of every town, demonstrating in favour of the King.
  • And at Hereford a short while ago, an inspector at the public inquiry into the bypass ruled in favour of the anti-road campaign.
  • President Kaunda spoke in favour of a referendum but he reaffirmed his strong opposition to any change to multiple parties.
The preposition in favour of is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The other chamber, the Council of the Union, voted in favour of adopting the bill.
argue campaign decide demonstrate rule speak vote
come down come out speak out
203
2 The `discriminate' group

These verbs are concerned with helping or benefiting someone.

  • Many universities discriminate in favour of minorities in awarding academic tenure.
In the case of work, the pattern V in poss favour is more frequent than V in favour of n.
  • She said all the weather delays worked in her favour.
discriminate work
3 The `stand down' group

These verbs indicate that someone resigns. The prepositional phrase indicates who they allow to take their place.

  • Labour commissioner Bruce Millan, 65, is prepared to stand down in favour of 50-year-old Mr Kinnock.
resign
stand down step down
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same, except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

21 V into n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of into and a noun group.

This pattern has three structures:

  • Structure I: Verb with prepositional Complement
    His smile turned into a grin.
  • Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
    The tax people are inquiring into his affairs.
  • Strcuture III: Verb with Adjunct
    He dived into the river.
Structure I: Verb with prepositional Complement
V into n
  Verb groupintonoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Complement  
The planebrokeintopieces.
The rallydevelopedintoa riot.
204 Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:
I.1 The `turn' group

These verbs are concerned with becoming. The prepositional phrase indicates what something becomes. We include here segue and shade, which indicate either that something becomes something else or that it is next to or followed by something else. The verbs convert, shade, transmute, and turn are link verbs (see Chapter 5).

  • The year before, a number of senior generals had been muttering that the Czech business must be stopped before it blew up into a world war.
  • He wanted to curl into a tiny ball, smaller, smaller, so small they couldn't find him.
  • With her care, he grew into a normal, healthy child.
  • He's shaping up into a very nice horse.
  • The downturn in television advertising has turned into a collapse.
The verbs amalgamate, coalesce, and merge always have a plural Subject with this pattern because they are reciprocal verbs concerned with two or more things becoming one thing (see Chapter 6).
  • Another group of Algeria's twenty or so opposition parties has coalesced into an alternative third force.
amalgamate ball bloom blossom broaden build change coalesce condense convert curl decompose degenerate develop erupt escalate evolve fizzle form gel germinate grow merge metamorphose mushroom mutate ossify segue shade transmute turn
blow up curl up shape up

A few of these verbs also have the pattern V from n into n (see Ch2 Sec18).

I.2 The `break' group

These verbs are concerned with breaking or dividing. The prepositional phrase refers to pieces or subgroups. The verb resolve is a link verb (see Chapter 5).

  • The oil tanker grounded in the Shetland Islands has broken into several pieces.
  • Gradually, over the centuries, the buildings will crumble into dust.
  • When the BMW hit the barrier head on, the windscreen shattered into a thousand crazy fragments.
  • Let's separate into smaller groups.
break crumble divide fragment polarize resolve separate shatter smash splinter split
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Complement

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Complement.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) There are only three phrasal verbs with this structure, blow up, curl up, and shape up. The pattern is V P into n.

205
Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
V into n
  Verb groupintonoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
You're pryingintopolice matters.
Mikesankintosuicidal depression.
The carslammedintoa van.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

II.1 The `crash' group II.3 The `inquire' group II.5 The `lapse' group
II.2 The `bite' group II.4 The `enter' group II.6 The `change' group
II.1 The `crash' group

These verbs are concerned with collisions. The prepositional phrase indicates the thing or person that someone or something hits.

  • He led them rapidly past many branching passages, until he stopped so abruptly Bob bumped into him.
  • At least ten people were killed on Monday when a freight train crashed into a passenger train at Mangra railway station.
bang barge bump cannon crash plough run slam smash
II.2 The `bite' group

These verbs are concerned with exerting pressure or making a dent or hole in something. We include here bore, as in Her eyes bored into his.

  • Weatherby bit into a digestive biscuit.
  • His fingers dug into my arm like pincers.
bite bore crunch dig drill eat sink
II.3 The `inquire' group

These verbs are concerned with research and inquiry. The prepositional phrase indicates the subject of the research or inquiry.

  • They see no reason to delve into the origins of international economic inequality.
  • Although he had no criminal record, police are inquiring into some of Wilson's business deals.
  • I told him I would look into the story and get right back to him.
206
delve dig inquire look probe pry research
II.4 The `enter' group

These verbs indicate that someone becomes involved in something.

  • Always seek professional legal advice before entering into any agreement.
  • I'd like to get into management.
  • If I had unwisely intruded into his affairs, he would surely understand that my intentions had been good.
  • It's a difficult situation and I have to think things over very carefully. I'm not rushing into anything.
blunder break diversify enter get go hook intrude plunge rush settle tumble venture wade walk

In the case of rush, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' form. In this pattern, the verbs are in phase.

  • Don't rush into buying any watering equipment. Take time to work out which is the best for you that you can afford.
II.5 The `lapse' group

These verbs indicate that someone or something starts being in a different state, usually a bad one, or starts doing something.

  • She burst into tears.
  • Jeremy burst out into peals of laughter as he wagged a finger at us.
  • The Senate's public gallery was packed with Judge Hastings' supporters, who erupted into applause after he finished his argument.
  • They lapsed into silence, each caught in his own private world of guilt.
  • After celebrating the so-called `economic miracle' of the 1980s, the country plunged into recession in 1990.
  • Such people often slide into a melancholic state as they age.
  • Three days later he slipped into a coma and died.
break burst come descend dissolve erupt fall fly get lapse launch plunge regress relapse retreat sink slide slip
burst out get back
II.6 The `change' group

These verbs are concerned with putting on different clothes.

This is a productive use: other verbs of movement, for example get, scramble, and squeeze, occur with this pattern. The verbs given here are the ones which are most frequently used in this way.

  • Then I put on a new pair of army running shoes and changed into a clean shirt and trousers.
207
change slip
II.7 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this structure.

  • The report suggests that consumers dipped into their savings for holiday spending.
  • The report lashes into the police for ignoring the warning signs.
  • The alley opened into the unlit plaza just above the mission church.
  • We'll help you tap into your creative energy.
  • The question for many Americans, though, is whether these higher profits will translate into new jobs.
dip grow lash open tap translate
open out
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure does not often have a passive. However, bite (II.2) and look (II.3) sometimes have the passive be V-ed into.
He said that the matter was being looked into.

c) There are only three phrasal verbs with this structure, burst out, get back, and open out. The pattern is V P into n.

Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
V into n
  Verb groupintonoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
Theybargedintomy house.
The sound of the enginefadedintothe distance.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

III.1 The `infiltrate' group III.2 The `dip' group III.3 The `fade' group
III.1 The `infiltrate' group

These verbs indicate that someone or something enters a place, group, or thing, physically or metaphorically.

  • This lack of finesse carried over into his dealings with customers.
  • More than 300 guests crowded into the ornate gothic rooms for a sit-down dinner.
  • Irrationally, another image from the past flashed into her mind.
  • The organizers said they believe pro-military thugs had infiltrated into the crowd and started the violence.
  • You can buy plastic divider strips which slot into the trays to form compartments.
208
ascend assimilate barge bleed book break check cram creep cross crowd crumble dive empty (A river) fall filter fit flash get go hack infiltrate integrate intrude jam marry move pack pile plug push put (A ship) roll slot splash throng tumble withdraw
carry over
III.2 The `dip' group

These verbs indicate that someone puts their hand in a container in order to get something.

  • Theodora Adams dug into her purse, extracted a folded square of notepaper and smoothed it on the leg of her pants.
  • Nancy dipped into a bowl of popcorn that Hannah had made for them before she'd gone to bed.
dig dip dive
III.3 The `fade' group

These verbs are concerned with disappearing or not being noticeable.

  • Does the new housing stick out like a sore thumb or blend into its surroundings?
  • They immediately engaged in animated conversation, and I faded into the background, finished my orange juice, and left.


Margaret Thatcher will not fade away into quiet retirement.

  • They jumped over the lowest part of the wall and vanished into the night.
blend fade melt merge recede vanish
fade away
III.4 Verbs with other meanings

There are three other verbs which have this structure.

  • The debate is expected to be a lengthy one. Officials say it will probably stretch into next week.
In the case of spark and spring, only a very restricted range of nouns can occur in the prepositional phrase.
  • As both parties recognise the signal, neurons in the brain spark into life.
  • Suddenly all the alarms go off and the Special Branch protection people spring into action.
spark (into life, activity) spring (into action, life, existence being) stretch
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure rarely has a passive. However, break (III.1) sometimes has the passive be V-ed into. 209
Our house was broken into earlier this year.

c) There are only two phrasal verbs with this structure, carry over and fade away. The pattern is V P into n.

Other related patterns
V into n that
See Ch1 Sec10
22 V like n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of like and a noun group.

This pattern has two main structures:

  • Structure I: Verb with prepositional Complement
    She looked like Alex.
  • Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
    You're acting like a fool.
Structure I: Verb with prepositional Complement
V like n
  Verb grouplikenoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Complement  
Musicislikea living thing.
This placefeelslikea prison.

Verbs with this structure are all used to indicate how someone or something seems. They are all link verbs (see Chapter 5). The verb feel 1 indicates how someone seems to themselves.

With all these verbs except be and seem, you may be saying that one person or thing resembles another, as in She looks like her mother, or you may be indicating what you think someone or something is, as in They look like a good team.

  • He was like any other kid any of us knew.
  • I feel like a new person.
  • From a distance, it looked like a haystack.
  • In retrospect, the whole trip seems like a darkening nightmare.
  • That sounds like a good idea.
In the case of be and look 2.4, the preposition like is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause. With look, the `-ing' clause indicates what someone or something seems likely to do or experience.
  • It was like being in a dream.
  • He looks like being made president for another year.
210
be feel look seem smell sound taste
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Complement

a) The prepositional phrase is a prepositional Complement.

b) This structure has no passive.

Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
V like n
  Verb grouplikenoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
Hedidn't actlikea 13-year-old.
Welivedlikefugitives.

Most verbs with this structure are used to describe the behaviour of someone or something. The prepositional phrase indicates whose behaviour it resembles.

This is a productive use: any verb which indicates behaviour or action can be used with this pattern. The verbs listed here are the ones which are most frequently used in this way.

  • I never wanted to be a star. I don't act like a star, I don't dress like a star. It's just not my thing.
  • If Sid wanted to behave like a lunatic, that was his choice.
act behave dress live think
Verbs with other meanings

There is one other verb with this structure. With this verb, the preposition like is always followed by this.

  • The story goes like this.
go
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

Other structures

In the case of feel 13, the prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object. It indicates something that someone would like to have or do. This structure has no passive.

  • `D'you feel like a coffee?' `I wouldn't say no to a cuppa.'
The preposition like is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • I don't really feel like doing any work 'cos I'm dog-tired.
211
feel
23 V of n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of the preposition of and a noun group. With some verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause. The passive pattern is be V-ed of.

This pattern has one main structure:

  • Verb with prepositional Object
    She complained of a headache.
Active voice: V of n/-ing
  Verb groupofnoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Ido not approveofthis change.
Hedespairedoffinishing it.
The barstankofsweat and beer.
Shetalkedofkilling herself.
Passive voice: be V-ed of
  Verb groupof
SubjectVerbPreposition
Lazinessis disapprovedof.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `talk' group 2 The `think' group 3 The `know' group
1 The `talk' group

These verbs are concerned with talking. The prepositional phrase indicates what is being talked about.

  • He complained of a ringing in his ears.
  • In November 1966, Adenauer spoke of the need for a new, major West German effort to reach gradual agreement with the Soviet Union.
The preposition of is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • He is proud of his memory, and boasts of knowing the whole of Gerard Manley Hopkins, among other writers, by heart.
The preposition of is also sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause, especially in the case of speak, talk, and tell. This pattern is V of n -ing. 212 We talked of him getting a summer job.
boast complain speak talk tell warn
2 The `think' group

These verbs are concerned with thinking or having an opinion. The prepositional phrase indicates the topic of the thought or opinion.

  • She was very much concerned that her parents did not approve of her decision.
  • She's not even trying. I despair of her!
The preposition of is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • Peter is thinking of giving up teaching to become a full-time politician.
In the case of approve, conceive 1, disapprove, dream, and think, the preposition is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V of n -ing.
  • He couldn't conceive of anyone arguing with his results.
  • She disapproves of me talking to you.
approve (cannot) conceive conceive daydream despair disapprove dream repent think
3 The `know' group

These verbs are concerned with getting or having knowledge.

  • I had heard of this band before, but I had never witnessed a performance or heard their music.
  • They also knew of the link between Lathan and the two journalists.
In the case of hear, the preposition of is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • I've heard of looking on the bright side of life, but this is ridiculous!
In the case of hear and know, the preposition is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V of n -ing.
  • The president admitted that he did not know of any rebels having surrendered so far.
hear know learn
4 The `reek' group

These verbs indicate that something resembles something else or seems to be something. This includes:

  • smelling like something else
  • tasting like something else
  • being similar in some other way
Smell and taste are link verbs (see Chapter 5).
  • The hall reeked of cigar smoke.
  • The West's response to the crisis smacks of appeasement, the Post says.
  • The water was refrigerated and tasted of metal.
213
reek smack smell speak stink taste
5 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this pattern.

  • It appears he died of natural causes.
  • The rest can be disposed of safely by controlled incineration or secure landfill.
The verb beware is only used in the imperative and infinitive.
  • Beware of food which has been left to stand in warm temperatures, such as in buffets.
In the case of beware, come 16, tire, and weary, the preposition of is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • One of the disembarking passengers had tired of waiting for the coach and set off at a smart pace.
beware come die dispose drain partake permit tire weary
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed of. However, not all verbs with this structure are used in the passive. The following verbs are the ones which are most frequently passive.

approve boast complain conceive despair disapprove dispose dream hear partake speak talk think
Other structures

In the case of consist, which is a link verb (see Chapter 5), the prepositional phrase is a prepositional Complement. The preposition of is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.

  • The crew consisted of pilot, co-pilot, navigator and flight engineer.
consist
Other related patterns
V of n as n/-ing/adj

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with of. This is followed by another prepositional phrase which consists of as and a noun group, `-ing clause', or adjective group. The passive pattern is be V-ed of as n/-ing/adj.

These verbs are concerned with regarding or describing someone or something as a particular thing.

  • She speaks of her family as a `great support system'.
214 Now he is being talked of as the party's next leader.
  • I don't think of myself as abnormal, just unusual.
conceive speak talk think
V of n wh
See page Ch1 Sec11
V of n with quote
See Ch1 Sec13
24 V off n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of off and a noun group.

This pattern has two structures:

  • Structure I: Verb with prepositional Object
    He sponged off friends.
  • Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
    The ball rebounded off a tree.
Structure I: Verb with prepositional Object
V off n
  Verb groupoffnoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
All the componentscan runoffbattery power.
Idon't spongeoffwomen.

There are two verbs with this structure.

  • The Biotrace Hygiene Monitor is totally portable and runs off both mains and batteries.
  • Saying immigrants have come to sponge off the state is ridiculous.
run sponge
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has no passive.

215
Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
V off n
  Verb groupoffnoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
The ballcannonedoffthe post.
The lightreflectedoffthe stone.

Verbs with this structure indicate that an object, or light or sound, hits something and comes back from it.

  • The sunlight glinted off the distant mountains in a dazzling silver-white radiance.
  • Another bullet ricocheted off a rock behind him.
bounce cannon glint rebound reflect ricochet
Verbs with other meanings

There is one other verb which has this structure.

  • The paint was peeling off the door.
peel
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

25 V on n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of on and a noun group. With some verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause or a wh-clause. In Structure I, the preposition is followed by an `-ing' form.

Some verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on. Upon is a more formal or literary word.

The passive pattern is be V-ed on.

This pattern has three structures:

  • Structure I: Verbs in phase
    She insisted on paying.
  • Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
    He remarked on the heat.
  • Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
    Police are converging on the area.
216
Structure I: Verbs in phase
V on -ing
  Verb groupon-ing  
SubjectVerb     Completive
The doginsistedoncomingwith me into the room.

There are only two verbs with this structure. The verb embark indicates that someone starts doing something, and the verb insist indicates that someone does something even though this is not wanted or not reasonable.

  • If we win the elections, we will not embark on reforming the constitution before the presidential elections.
  • She insisted on giving Nina her telephone number, just in case.

The verb insist is sometimes followed by upon instead of on.

  • We tried our best, but he insisted upon leaving.
embark insist

When the preposition on is followed by a noun group, these verbs have Structure II (see meaning groups II.26 and II.27 below).

Structure information: Verbs in phase

a) The verb is followed by the preposition on and the `-ing' form of another verb. The verbs are in phase, and together form a complex verb group. This means that the actions or states expressed by the two verbs cannot be separated from each other. For example, if you insist on wearing something, the insisting and the wearing are not two processes, but one.

The complex verb group is followed by a group, phrase, or clause which completes the pattern of the second verb. In the structure table above, this is called a Completive. For example, if the second verb is normally followed by a noun group, then the Completive of the complex verb group will be a noun group.

b) This structure has no passive.

Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
Active voice: V on n/-ing/wh
  Verb grouponnoun group/-ing clause/wh-clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Theycannot agreeonwhat they want done.
Heis concentratingongetting himself re-elected.
Iknockedonthe door.
My husbandremarkedonher marvellous sense of humour.
The authoritiesrenegedonthe deal.
217
Passive voice: be V-ed on
  Verb groupon  
SubjectVerbPrepositionAdjunct (optional)
His carwas firedon.  
One toddlerwas troddenonin the scuffle.
Phrasal verbs: V P on n
  Verb groupParticleonnoun group
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object  
Big American firmswere musclinginonthe two companies' markets.
  Swotuponlocal sites.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

II.1 The `comment' group II.10 The `spy' group II.19 The `feed' group
II.2 The `enlarge' group II.11 The `inform' group II.20 The `live' group
II.3 The `reflect' group II.12 The `walk out' group II.21 The `economize' group
II.4 The `dote' group II.13 The `back-pedal' group II.22 The `overspend' group
II.5 The `read up' group II.14 The `backfire' group II.23 The `focus' group
II.6 The `beat' group II.15 The `depend' group II.24 The `call' group
II.7 The `impinge' group II.16 The `gamble' group II.25 The `check' group
II.8 The `intrude' group II.17 The `work' group II.26 The `start' group
II.9 The `pounce' group II.18 The `build' group II.27 Verbs with other meanings
II.1 The `comment' group

These verbs are concerned with speaking or writing. The prepositional phrase indicates the topic involved. We include here verbs such as legislate, rule, and vote, which are concerned with expressing your decision or judgement about something.

  • The government has not yet commented on his release.
  • They are not supposed to interfere in local politics but can report back on what is going on.
  • Parliament is due to vote on the peace plan on Wednesday.
Many of these verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on, especially comment, dwell, pronounce, remark, report, touch, and vote.
  • The question of prisoners of war will no doubt be touched upon by the two foreign ministers.
In the case of advise and vote, the preposition on is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The Parliament is also due to vote on lowering the legal voting age from twenty-one to eighteen.
In the case of the following verbs, the preposition on (or upon) is sometimes followed by a wh-clause: adjudicate, advise, comment, discourse, dwell, pronounce, report, report back, rule, touch, vote.
  • Mr. Potter declined to comment on why he left the company and said he doesn't yet know what he will be doing.
218
adjudicate advise comment commentate counsel discourse dwell generalize harp lecture legislate philosophize pontificate preach pronounce remark report rule speak talk touch vote write
report back sound off
II.2 The `enlarge' group

These verbs are concerned with saying more about a topic or adding details.

  • Mr Dienstbier was enlarging on proposals he made last night to members of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
These verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on.
  • Georg Simmel, a colleague of Weber's, expanded upon this concept in his essay, `The Web of Group Affiliations'.
elaborate embroider enlarge expand
II.3 The `reflect' group

These verbs are concerned with thought, or the expression of thought. The prepositional phrase indicates the topic of the thought. We include here verbs concerned with agreeing and disagreeing.

  • It gave me a chance to reflect on what I was doing.
Many of these verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on, especially agree, dwell, meditate, and reflect.
  • The student must carefully meditate upon the symbols and concepts that relate to the element of Earth.
The verbs agree, differ, and disagree are reciprocal verbs (see Chapter 6), and have a plural Subject with this pattern.
  • Meeting on February 11th, the two men failed to agree on anything.
The preposition on (or upon) is sometimes followed by a wh-clause.
  • But they rarely agree on how to act and often attack each other, personally and politically.
In the case of reflect, the preposition on (or upon) is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • Many long-term prisoners are in their twenties and have already had plenty of time to reflect on losing their most vigorous years.
agree brood cogitate deliberate differ disagree dwell meditate muse ponder reflect ruminate speculate

The verbs agree, differ, and disagree also have the pattern V with n on n (see Chapter 6).

II.4 The `dote' group

These verbs are concerned with someone's attitude towards someone or something. We include here smile, which usually has something like fortune or the gods as its Subject.

  • Marie's parents dote on her and devote much of their time and resources towards making her happy.
219 This time fortune smiled on us and there were no hitches. The weather was beautiful, the breeze was good, we caught the tide. These verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on.
  • It was a time when rock'n'roll was frowned upon and dismissed as juvenile rubbish.
dote fawn frown smile
II.5 The `read up' group

These verbs are concerned with learning about a subject because you feel you need to.

  • Get a copy of your company's employee handbook and mug up on the relevant sections.
  • Mark had read up on opals in Bess's encyclopedia.
bone up catch up gen up mug up read up swot up
II.6 The `beat' group

These verbs are concerned with touching something. This includes:

  • hitting something
  • pressing something
  • The rain was beating on the windowpanes.
  • With this in mind, she knocked on the door and waited.
  • Press on the wound firmly with your fingers to flatten the cut blood vessels.
  • The most common foot fracture occurs in contact sports where feet can easily be trodden on.
Many of these verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on, especially beat, knock, rest, and tread.
  • His legs were stretched out and his feet rested upon a sofa.
bang beat clatter clunk drum grate hammer impact knock pound press pull rap rest stamp strum tap thump trample tread
bear down beat up
II.7 The `impinge' group

These verbs are concerned with affecting or beginning to affect someone or something, often negatively. The Subject often refers to a worrying thought or situation. We include here grate and jar, where the effect is very negative.

  • All these problems seem to be crowding in on him right now.
  • A gloomy silence once again descended on the room.
  • There was an edge to her voice that grated on Gretchen's nerves.
  • Sometimes the thought of my husband's wartime ordeals weighed on me dreadfully.
Most of these verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on, especially act, fall, impact, impinge, and weigh.
  • It was perhaps the first time that public affairs had impinged upon him in a personal way.
220
act descend fall grate impact impinge jar press prey tell weigh
creep up crowd in sneak up
II.8 The `intrude' group

These verbs are concerned with interrupting someone or something, or getting involved in something, sometimes when this is unwelcome.

  • They would like the Czechs to come in on this, but they are hesitating.
  • They wrote letters from time to time, but did not intrude on his privacy.
  • European governments are thus rightly wary of allowing the commission to muscle in on such projects.
  • If you were to walk in on the man you love, and he was with somebody else, what would you feel?
The verbs encroach, infringe, and intrude are sometimes followed by upon instead of on.
  • `Oh, Dr. Stockton, I'm not trying to encroach upon your duties,' Houston said.
encroach infringe intrude trespass
barge in break in butt in come in cut in get in move in muscle in sit in walk in weigh in
II.9 The `pounce' group

These verbs are concerned with attacking or harming someone, or treating them in a bad or hostile way. This includes:

  • physically attacking someone
  • criticizing someone
  • stopping someone's activities
  • A new scheme has been launched by police in Coventry to crack down on youngsters who play truant.
  • The girl, who was pounced on while waiting for a train, was treated in hospital for head wounds.
  • Speaker after speaker rounded on ministers from the floor, with Dr Clifford Lutton, an Edinburgh GP, saying the party appeared to have lost the confidence of its own supporters.
Many of these verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on, especially fire, pounce, prey, and turn. Set is nearly always followed by upon.
  • They prey upon the community and are, in turn, preyed upon by its most perverted and malign forces.
  • I took the short cut, over the fields, and I was set upon by a gang of boys.
dump fire jump lean pounce prey round set stamp swoop trample turn
clamp down come down crack down gang up
221
II.10 The `spy' group

These verbs are concerned with secretly watching, listening to, or finding out about someone.

  • Sloan mingles with the crowd waiting to go inside and likes to eavesdrop on their conversations.
  • But they'll read your post, and listen in on your telephone calls.
  • They portrayed him as a temperamental tyrant who employed private detectives to snoop on adversaries.
The verb spy is sometimes followed by upon instead of on.
  • They felt that they were being spied upon.
eavesdrop snoop spy
listen in
II.11 The `inform' group

These verbs are concerned with telling people in authority that someone has done something wrong. The prepositional phrase indicates who that person is. The implication is usually that the person referred to by the Subject betrays the other person by giving this information.

  • This is a tense thriller about a diamond heist that goes badly wrong because someone has grassed on the thieves.
  • They had to attend indoctrination sessions at which they were urged to inform on suspected `separatists'.
grass inform rat snitch tell
II.12 The `walk out' group

These verbs are concerned with abandoning someone. We include here hang up, which indicates that someone ends a telephone conversation abruptly.

  • When I told him that you'd be negotiating for me, he said he'd call again, and hung up on me.
  • His first wife walked out on him.
hang up run out walk out
II.13 The `back-pedal' group

These verbs are concerned with not having a fixed attitude. This includes:

  • changing a plan
  • breaking a promise
  • not making a decision
  • The government has backed down on plans to introduce national tests for seven-year-old children.
  • Last week he appeared to back-pedal on that statement, but it was too late.
  • The President has begun to renege on promises he made when the talks began.
  • He legalised opposition parties, and granted an amnesty to political exiles, but tried to stall on the question of a national conference.
222 In the case of compromise and stall, the preposition on is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The government is unlikely to compromise on ending emergency rule there.
back-pedal backtrack compromise default flip-flop prevaricate procrastinate rat renege soft-pedal stall stonewall waffle waver
back down cave in climb down go back hang back
II.14 The `backfire' group

These verbs indicate that a plan or action has a different result from the one intended, often harming the person who planned or did it. The prepositional phrase refers to that person.

  • Such attacks could backfire on Yeltsin's opponents, however.
The verb rebound is sometimes followed by upon instead of on.
  • The very success of that policy now threatens to rebound upon the government.
backfire boomerang rebound
II.15 The `depend' group

These verbs are concerned with depending or relying on something or someone, or hoping to have something.

  • I hope we can count on your support.
  • A great deal hangs on the answer to these questions.
Many of these verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on, especially count, depend, rely, and rest.
  • This system of legalised extortion rests upon a whole system of political control.
In the case of bank, count, depend, hinge, rely, and rest, the preposition on (or upon) is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • People can no longer rely on doing their chosen job for life.
In the case of depend, hinge, rest, and turn, the preposition on (or upon) is sometimes followed by a wh-clause.
  • Much will hinge on how well the Free Democrats do tonight.
In the case of bank, count, depend, hinge, and rely, the preposition on (or upon) is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V on n ing.
  • In the case of spacecraft such as the Space Shuttle, lives depend on such systems working properly.
bank count depend hang hinge lean pivot rely rest ride turn

The verbs count 2, depend 2, and rely 1 also have the pattern V on n for n. The prepositional phrase beginning with for indicates what the person referred to provides or ensures.

  • She, too, relied upon him for her safety.
223 These three verbs also have the pattern V on n to-inf, which is dealt with at the end of this section.
II.16 The `gamble' group

These verbs are concerned with gambling.

  • A greyhound trainer has won *53200,000 from the bookies by betting on his own dog.
The preposition on is sometimes followed by a wh-clause.
  • Interest rates might go up again, so people are sort of gambling on what's going to happen in the next five or ten years from now.
In the case of gamble, the preposition on is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • They gambled on getting stronger western backing and, this time, they won.
In the case of bet and gamble, the preposition on is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V on n -ing.
  • Some day the company may pay for the failure to diversify, but do not bet on it happening soon.
bet gamble speculate wager
II.17 The `work' group

These verbs are concerned with working. The prepositional phrase indicates what the work relates to.

  • He was operated on immediately and the assailant's knife removed from his back.
The verb collaborate is a reciprocal verb (see Chapter 6), and has a plural Subject with this pattern.
  • After his return to Edinburgh, we collaborated on a musical version of Kingsley Amis's `Lucky Jim'.
In the case of collaborate and work, the preposition on is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • Mr Waldegrave said British diplomats were working on solving these problems.
collaborate experiment operate toil work
beaver away toil away

The verb collaborate also has the patterns V with n on n and V on n with n (see Chapter 6).

II.18 The `build' group

These verbs are concerned with using something as a basis or exploiting it. We include here act, which indicates that someone follows advice or instructions, and improve, which indicates that someone produces something better than a previous thing.

  • So, acting on our director's instructions, we drove off the highway down a rough track that led through the dunes. I think I was too naive at the time. I didn't capitalize on opportunities.
  • His classic cocoon-shaped coat with ruched velvet shawl collar simply cannot be improved on.
Many of these verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on, especially act, build, capitalize, and improve.
  • This year we are building upon that success to provide an even better and bigger show.
224 In the case of cash in, the preposition on is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • In 1979 he was accused of cashing in on being part of the Royal Family.
act build capitalize improve improvise piggyback trade work
cash in
II.19 The `feed' group

These verbs are concerned with eating or consuming something. We include here draw, puff, and pull, which are concerned with smoking, and choke and overdose, which are concerned with the harmful effects of consuming something.

  • He chewed on his toast, taking his time.
  • She had nearly choked on the tiny nibble of wedding cake she had tasted.
  • Slugs feed on decaying plant and animal material, as well as living plant material such as seedlings and flowers.
  • `So what are the options?' Mr Clarke asks, puffing on his small cigar.
Some of these verbs are occasionally followed by upon instead of on, especially feast and feed.
  • Mrs Drake wondered if an alligator were feasting upon Leo's fish.
binge browse chew choke crunch dine draw feast feed gnaw gorge live munch nibble overdose puff pull snack suck
fill up munch away nibble away
II.20 The `live' group

These verbs are concerned with living or functioning. The prepositional phrase indicates what resources someone or something has which enable them to live or function.

  • She is getting by on borrowed money.
  • They may not look for work once they are accustomed to living on benefit.
  • I got the idea of making a car that runs on clean gas when visiting a factory where many facilities were operated by air pressure.
In the case of thrive, the preposition on is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • Switzerland has thrived on being different from its neighbours.
exist live run subsist survive thrive
get by
II.21 The `economize' group

These verbs are concerned with spending less on something or using less of it.

  • I shall have to economize on clothes, food and other necessities that I've worked for all my life.
  • Pregnant women are still advised to cut down on coffee.
225
economize save scrimp skimp
cut back cut down
II.22 The `overspend' group

These verbs are concerned with spending a lot of money, or too much money, on something.

  • Don't overspend on your home and expect to get the money back when you sell.
  • And why not splash out on the ultimate luxury of linen sheets?
overspend splurge
fork out shell out splash out
II.23 The `focus' group

These verbs are concerned with having or starting to having a particular thing as your focus of attention. A number of these verbs have someone's eyes as the Subject.

  • As he sipped his drink, his eye fell on a child's alphabet chart lying on the table.
  • Chomsky tends to focus on well-studied languages like English rather than languages from far afield.
  • Critics have zeroed in on his plan to raise gasoline taxes 10 cents a gallon every year for five years.
These verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on.
  • The film centres upon two prisoners: Gerry Conlon and his father Giuseppe.
In the case of centre, concentrate, and focus, the preposition on (or upon) is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • He gave up his party duties to concentrate on clearing his name.
alight (Your eyes) centre concentrate fall (Your eyes) fasten fix (Your eyes) focus rest (Your eyes) settle (Your eyes)
home in zero in zoom in
II.24 The `call' group

These verbs are concerned with visiting someone.

  • He went to call on Gianni, who was out.
  • Actually, I can't stay late. I said I'd drop in on someone. A patient.
call
call in drop in look in
II.25 The `check' group

These verbs are concerned with checking a fact or situation.

  • I'll get somebody to check on the luggage.
check
check up
226
II.26 The `start' group

These verbs are concerned with starting to do or deal with something.

  • We're ready to start on the runways.

The verb embark is sometimes followed by upon instead of on.

  • We want to dispel the idea that at 40, people are too old to embark upon a political career.
embark start
(See also Structure I above.)
II.27 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs with this structure.

  • I mean, even your own personal behavior as a teacher, outside of school hours, reflects on the school itself.
  • Some of Snape's caution had rubbed off on me.

Many of these verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on, especially insist.

  • He began to insist upon a bullet-proof limousine, just for peace of mind.
In the case of miss out, the preposition on is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • Reggae band Inner Circle said they were very upset to have missed out on performing at the Carnival.
In the case of insist 1, the preposition on is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V on n -ing.
  • They insist on three conditions being met.
abut foreclose impose insist pass reflect ride sponge wait
catch up come through ease up follow through hold out lose out miss out rub off stock up tighten up

(See also Structure I above).

Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive with the pattern be V-ed on. However, not all verbs with this structure are used in the passive. The following verbs are the ones which are most frequently passive.

act agree comment count depend fire improve jump lean operate pounce prey rely set stamp touch trample tread vote wait work
227 c) The phrasal verb patterns are the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb. The passive pattern, be V-ed P on, does not often occur.
Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
V on n
  Verb grouponnoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
Heappearedonweekend TV talk shows.
Lootershave descendedonthe suburb where the plane crashed.
Phrasal verbs: V P on n
  Verb groupParticleonnoun group
SubjectVerb   Adjunct  
The crowd of onlookersclosedinonher.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

III.1 The `converge' group III.2 The `squat' group III.3 The `appear' group
III.1 The `converge' group

These verbs are concerned with going towards or onto something or someone, literally or metaphorically.

  • Up to 20,000 fans are expected to converge on Sweden for the first games on June 10.
  • As the elephants shake the palms, the nuts rain down on their backs.
  • There was clearly no way to sneak up on the house.
Many of these verbs are sometimes followed by upon instead of on, especially descend, devolve, and rain down.
  • Most of the administrative work devolved upon a more junior minister.
close converge descend devolve embark encroach fall rain settle trespass
bear down close in creep up move in rain down sneak up
III.2 The `squat' group

These verbs indicates that someone takes up a squatting or kneeling position.

  • She got down on her knees and began praying.
  • He pulled out some matches, squatted on his heels, struck a match and held it towards the wood.
228
squat
get down go down
III.3 The `appear' group

These verbs indicate that someone takes part in a television or radio programme, or in a film.

  • He frequently appeared on television, and wrote regular columns in newspapers on every subject from clothing fashions to the afterlife.
appear feature go guest
III.4 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this structure.

  • `Well, we took it to the garage for its MOT test and it failed.' `Did it fail on the clutch?'
  • The report falls down on analysis and background.
  • No police representatives will sit on the investigation committee.
  • Local fishermen had complained that their nets kept snagging on some underwater objects.
  • Suddenly she tripped on a clump of grass and pitched forward, clutching vainly at a branch to save herself.
In the case of fall, the noun group following the preposition on refers to a day or date.
  • Derby Day fell on the 40th anniversary of the coronation.
In the case of teeter, only a restricted range of nouns are used after the preposition on, mainly brink and edge.
  • Their economy is teetering on the brink of collapse.
catch fail fall sit snag teeter trip
fall down trip up
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has a passive with the pattern be V-ed on. However, the passive does not often occur.

c) Phrasal verb patterns are the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Other related patterns
V on/upon n as n/-ing/adj

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with on or upon. This is followed by another prepositional phrase which consists of as and a noun group, `-ing' clause, or adjective group. The second prepositional phrase indicates what someone regards someone or something as being. The passive pattern is be V-ed on/upon as n/-ing/adj.

229 Look on it as a challenge.
  • People who put their own pleasure higher up on the list of priorities are often looked on as selfish or immature.
look
V on/upon n for n
See meaning group II.15 above.
V on n that
See Ch1 Sec10
V on/upon n to-inf

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with on or upon, which is followed by a to-infinitive clause. The passive pattern is be V-ed on/upon to-inf.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `rely' group

These verbs are concerned with hoping or being certain that someone will do something.

  • One lesson they may have learned is that they cannot rely on anyone else to fight their battles for them.
bank count depend rely
2 The `call' group

These verbs are concerned with asking or persuading someone to do something.

  • So we call on everyone to seize this opportunity and to look at it positively.
  • Then I stepped down, and John, in fact, had been prevailed upon to take over for a year.
call prevail
V on/upon n wh
See Ch1 Sec11
V on n with n, V with n on n
See Chapter 6.
26 V on to n, V onto n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of on to or onto and a noun group.

This pattern has one structure:

  • Verb with prepositional Object
    I held on to the rail.
V on to n, V onto n
  Verb groupon tonoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
His gardenbacksontoa school.
Shewas clingingon tohis arm.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `hold' group 2 The `back' group 3 The `get' group
1 The `hold' group

These verbs are concerned with holding onto something or becoming attached to something, physically or metaphorically.

  • The Socialists seem desperate to cling onto power.
  • The pilot was sucked part of the way out of the window but was saved by two stewards who held on to his legs.
  • We had one of those can openers that hooked onto the wall.
  • Amanda Fairchild had latched on to us on the boat from Newcastle to Bergen the night before.
cling fasten hang hold hook latch slot
2 The `back' group

These verbs are used when indicating what is next to a building or room.

  • We live in a ground floor flat which backs on to a busy street.
  • On the second floor, two shuttered French doors opened onto the balcony.
  • French windows open out onto the garden from the dining room.
back front lead open
open out
3 The `get' group

These verbs are concerned with starting to talk about a new topic.

  • Let's get on to more important matters.
231
come get move
get back
4 Verbs with other meanings

There are a few other verbs which have this pattern.

  • From the moment Lee Atwater first burst onto the national political scene at age 28, he seemed like an incredible character from a best-selling novel.
  • Get on to the freight agents and hustle up a cargo for Australia.
burst come get lead
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) There are only two phrasal verbs with this pattern, get back and open out. The pattern is V P on to n or V P onto n.

27 V out of n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of out of and a noun group. In Structure I, the preposition is followed by an `-ing' form.

This pattern has three structures:

  • Structure I: Verbs in phase
    She backed out of accompanying him.
  • Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
    We ran out of money.
  • Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
    I checked out of the hotel.
Structure I: Verbs in phase
V out of -ing
  Verb groupout of-ing  
SubjectVerb     Completive
Shechickenedout ofconfessing.  
Insurance companieswriggleout ofpayingjust claims.

Verbs with this structure are all concerned with not doing something. This includes:

  • not doing something you had planned or promised e.g. chicken, get
  • stopping doing something e.g. drop
  • The banks may drop out of lending to sovereign governments.
  • I found myself trying to scheme how I could get out of taking my kid to the beach.
232 America had decided to pull out of financing the proposed construction of the Aswan Dam.
back chicken drop duck get opt pull wriggle

When the preposition is followed by a noun group, these verbs have Structure II (see meaning group II.1).

Structure information: Verbs in phase

a) The verb is followed by the preposition out of and the `-ing' form of another verb. The verbs are in phase, and together form a complex verb group. This means that the actions or states expressed by the two verbs cannot be separated from each other. For example, if you opt out of voting, the opting and the not voting are not two processes, but one.

The complex verb group is followed by a group, phrase, or clause which completes the pattern of the second verb. In the structure table above, this is called a Completive. For example, if the second verb is normally followed by a noun group, then the Completive of the complex verb group will be a noun group.

b) This structure has no passive.

Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
V out of n
  Verb groupout ofnoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Hehad changedout ofhis work clothes.
They've runout ofideas.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

II.1 The `drop' group II.3 The `change' group II.5 The `arise' group
II.2 The `fall' group II.4 The `grow' group II.6 The `run' group
II.1 The `drop' group

These verbs are concerned with not being involved in something. This includes:

  • not doing something you had planned or promised e.g. back, chicken
  • removing yourself from a situation e.g. bow, drop

We include here want, which indicates that someone wants to escape from a situation.

  • Actress Julia Roberts has backed out of a *531.8 million movie deal.
  • He began drinking and dropped out of school.
back bow break butt chicken contract drop duck get opt pull stay walk want wriggle
233 See also Structure I above.
II.2 The `fall' group

These verbs indicate that someone or something stops being in a particular state.

  • After the First World War, when heating became very expensive, conservatories fell out of favour.
  • Big computers are going out of fashion.
  • Most economists predict that the economy will pull out of the recession by mid-year.
fall get go pull snap
II.3 The `change' group

These verbs are concerned with taking off your clothes.

This is a productive use, and others verbs of movement, for example get, step, and wriggle, occur in this pattern. The verbs given here are the ones which are most frequently used in this way.

  • Then she went into the bathroom to get a robe and change out of her wet clothes.
change slip
II.4 The `grow' group

This group consists of two senses of the verb grow.

  • Most girls go through a phase of loving ponies, and most grow out of it.
  • I had to have my older sister's clothes when she grew out of them.
grow
II.5 The `arise' group

These verbs indicate that one thing develops or results from another.

  • The trouble appears to have arisen out of demands that several senior police officers should be forced to stand down.
  • This book grew out of three experiences which happened in 1968.
arise develop grow
II.6 The `run' group

These verbs are concerned with using or selling all you have of something.

  • Her doctor was supportive - but the health authority had run out of money.
  • A sign of increased consumer demand is that some retailers have sold out of popular items.
run sell
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

234 b) This structure has no passive.
Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
V out of n
  Verb groupout ofnoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
Hehad to bailout ofthe aircraft.
Everyonepiledout ofthe car.

Verbs with this structure all indicate that someone or something comes out of or leaves a place or thing.

  • On the same day a former police chief broke out of prison and took over police headquarters.
  • He checked out of his hotel room at nine this morning.
  • However, reports of unrest have continued to filter out of the capital.
  • `If we ever move out of this house, we'll sell everything with it,' he resolves.
bail belch break check clear clock condense filter get go move pile poke pull
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

Other related patterns
V out of n adv/prep

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with out of. This is followed by an adverb or another prepositional phrase which indicates the state someone is in at the end of a process or event.

  • She knew she had to control the situation and come out of it well.
come
28 V over n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of over and a noun group. With some verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by a wh-clause. The passive pattern is be V-ed over.

This pattern has two structures:

  • Structure I: Verb with prepositional Object
    Don't fret over things you can't change.
  • 235
  • Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
    The plane skimmed over the trees.
Structure I: Verb with prepositional Object
Active voice: V over n
  Verb groupovernoun group/wh-clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Theyarguedoverwhether to extend the deadline.
Shebroodedoverwhat had happened.
Heruledovera vast kingdom.
Passive voice: be V-ed over
  Verb groupover  
SubjectVerbPrepositionAdjunct (optional)
The Councilis presidedoverby a senior judge.
Phrasal verbs: V P over n
  Verb groupParticleovernoun group
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object  
Emotionwonoutoverreason.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

I.1 The `argue' group I.4 The `pore' group I.7 The `skate' group
I.2 The `grieve' group I.5 The `dawdle' group I.8 The `prevail' group
I.3 The `fuss' group I.6 The `back down' group I.9 Verbs with other meanings
I.1 The `argue' group

These verbs are concerned with speaking or making sounds. The prepositional phrase indicates what you are talking or making sounds about.

  • He was still chuckling over the letters with Judith and Chris Fortyne when the telephone rang.
  • From her first moments in cabaret in the early 1950s, everyone who saw Georgia Brown enthused over her professionalism and her potential.
  • The Consumers' Association says people will get the best deal if they haggle over prices.
The verbs argue 4, bicker, dicker, fight, haggle, quarrel, row, squabble, tussle, and wrangle always or often have a plural Subject with this pattern because they are reciprocal verbs concerned with having an argument or discussion (see Chapter 6). 236 We argued over household chores. In the case of the following verbs, the preposition over is sometimes followed by a wh-clause: argue, bicker, equivocate, fight, haggle, quarrel, quibble, row, squabble, tussle, wrangle.
  • The Senate has been quibbling over how much money each state receives as compared to how much each state pays in gas taxes.
argue bicker chuckle coo crow dicker enthuse equivocate fight gush haggle quarrel quibble rhapsodize row squabble tussle wrangle

Some of these verbs also have the pattern V with n over n: Chapter 6

I.2 The `grieve' group

These verbs are concerned with thinking or feeling. The prepositional phrase indicates what the thought or feeling relates to. We include here differ and disagree, which indicate that people have different views on something.

  • Fashion editors drooled over every item, from the black wool shaped jackets to the tie-dyed velvet trousers.
  • They have assembled a list of helpful hints for families who are grieving over the death of a loved one.
Differ and disagree are reciprocal verbs (see Chapter 6) and always have a plural Subject with this pattern.
  • The two have disagreed over the pace of economic reforms.
In the case of the following verbs, the preposition over is sometimes followed by a wh-clause: agonize, brood, deliberate, differ, disagree, dither, fret, muse, ponder, puzzle, ruminate, speculate, waffle, waver.
  • Many agonized over whether to take the offer.
  • But yesterday Baker said the two sides still disagree over when those meetings should be held.
agonize brood deliberate differ disagree dither drool fantasize fret fume fuss gloat grieve moon muse obsess ponder puzzle ruminate salivate seethe slaver smart speculate swoon waffle waver
I.3 The `fuss' group

These verbs are concerned with paying someone too much attention.

  • Today they lounge at their record company's UK office as staff fuss over them.
cluck fawn fuss
I.4 The `pore' group

These verbs are concerned with reading or studying something.

  • We pore over maps and photos, and plot fabulous journeys.
237
browse pore
I.5 The `dawdle' group

These verbs are concerned with delaying. The prepositional phrase indicates the issue or thing involved in the delay.

  • Don't fuss him if he dawdles over his food.
  • But ministers have been prevaricating over the matter since the outbreak of the crisis.
dally dawdle prevaricate procrastinate stall
I.6 The `back down' group

These verbs are concerned with changing your attitude or plans. The prepositional phrase indicates the issue or topic involved.

  • The British Government has been forced to back down over controversial plans to impose a code of impartiality on independent television broadcasters.
compromise
back down climb down
I.7 The `skate' group

These verbs are concerned with not saying something or not dealing with something properly or thoroughly. The prepositional phrase indicates the words or issue involved.

  • He was scathing in his criticism of the way important evidence had been rejected or skated over.
  • In addition, he stumbles over words, and it's not uncommon for him to lose his train of thought.
gloss skate skip stumble
I.8 The `prevail' group

These verbs are concerned with being in a superior or powerful position. The prepositional phrase indicates who or what the Subject is in charge of or is more powerful than.

  • Today, Mr. Corry presides over a company whose fortunes have changed abruptly.
  • In the end, good prevailed over evil.
  • Free-market liberals have won out over soft-hearted social democrats.
preside prevail reign rule triumph tyrannize
win out
I.9 Verbs with other meanings

There is one other verb with this structure.

  • When you're busy all day the last thing you want to do is spend hours slaving over a hot stove.
238
slave
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive with the pattern be V-ed over. However, not all verbs with this structure are used in the passive. The following verbs are the ones which are most frequently passive.

agonize argue coo fawn fight fuss pore preside skate

c) Phrasal verb patterns are the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes directly after the verb. The passive pattern is be V-ed P over, but it does not often occur.

Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
V over n
  Verb groupovernoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
A slight smileflickeredoverhis face.
Sheer walls of limestonetoweredoverus.

Verbs with this structure are all concerned with movement, position, or extent, either physical or metaphorical. The prepositional phrase indicates the place, thing, or field of activity involved. With most of these verbs, the Subject is inanimate.

  • A discernible gloom descended over the former drill hall.
  • Speaking to reporters in a lengthy address after their talks, the two foreign ministers said their talks ranged over many issues.
  • Soon we were skimming over the water.
  • Make sure trailing flexes are kept out of the way behind the furniture so you don't trip up over them.
  • The hair on the back of Luther's neck bristled and a wave of temper washed over him.
descend extend fall flicker hang range reign skim stoop tower trip wash
trip up
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) There is only one phrasal verb with this structure, trip up. The pattern is V P over n.

29 V through n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of through and a noun group. The passive pattern is be V-ed through.

This pattern has two structures:

  • Structure I: Verb with prepositional Object
    She was looking through a magazine.
  • Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
    He barged through the crowd.
Structure I: Verb with prepositional Object
Active voice: V through n
  Verb groupthroughnoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Some of the activistsbrokethrougha security cordon.
Shesailedthroughher exams.
Lloydsortedthroughthe entire batch.
Passive voice: be V-ed through
  Verb groupthrough  
SubjectVerbPrepositionAdjunct (optional)
The floorwill have to be drilledthrough.  
Every available Russian magazinewas flickedthroughover the weekend.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

I.1 The `live' group I.2 The `look' group I.3 The `smash' group
I.1 The `live' group

These verbs are concerned with experiencing something or coping with something in a particular way.

  • The third seed Jennifer Capriati breezed through her opening match to beat Erika de Lone of the United States 6-4, 6-love in just 50 minutes.
  • Life was unbelievably hard. `I wouldn't go through that again,' says Gill with feeling. `I honestly didn't realise how rough it would be.'
  • Another day to be lived through.
battle breeze come get go live muddle navigate pass pull sail scrape sit sleep
240
I.2 The `look' group

These verbs are concerned with reading or searching, usually in a careful or casual way, which involves looking at a lot of items.

  • Walsh took the note, glanced through the text, then handed it back without comment.
  • When she was out, Sylvie had gone through her cases and found the black wig, a hypodermic syringe and ampoules.
  • I've been looking through this handbook, but it doesn't mention anything that fits the description.
  • Mysteriously, nothing had been stolen, though their drawers had been rifled through.
browse comb flick flip glance go leaf look plough pore rake read riffle rifle scan sift skim sort thumb trawl wade
I.3 The `smash' group

These verbs are concerned with making a hole or breaking a barrier. We include here poke, which indicates that part of something appears through a hole or opening.

  • Drill through the joint from below.
  • I could see a rifle poking through an open door.
  • The thieves used a sledgehammer to smash through barred and shuttered dining room windows at 11pm on Saturday.
bore break cut dig drill pierce poke smash
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive with the pattern be V-ed through. However, it does not often occur. The verbs most frequently used in the passive are go and live in meaning group 1, the verbs in meaning group 2, and cut and drill in meaning group 3.

Structure II: Verb with Adjunct
V through n
  Verb groupthroughnoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
Thoughts of arsonflittedthroughmy head
The other swimmersploughthroughthe water.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

241 II.1 The `filter' group
II.2 The `flash' group
II.1 The `filter' group

These verbs are concerned with moving or travelling through a place, thing, or group of things. We include here permeate 1 and run 29, which indicate that something exists throughout a place, thing, or group.

  • He can cut through backyards and end up on Royal Avenue. But he's not supposed to.
  • The sunlight filtered through the trees onto soggy green vegetation.
  • Indeed the theme that runs through his entire oeuvre is that of role play.
barge cut filter permeate plough run shoulder slice sweep thread
II.2 The `flash' group

These verbs indicate that someone has a thought or feeling, usually briefly. The Subject indicates the thought or feeling, and the noun group after through is usually something like my mind (in the case of a thought) or me or my body (in the case of a feeling).

  • A ludicrous thought flashed through Harry's mind: what on earth was he going to do even if he did manage to stop them?
  • A convulsive shudder ran through his body.
flash flit race run surge wash
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

30 V to n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of to and a noun group. With some verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause. The passive pattern is be V-ed to.

This pattern has three structures:

  • Structure I: Verb with prepositional Complement
    Her expression changed to one of horror.
  • Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
    I apologized to him.
  • Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
    We moved to London.
242
Structure I: Verb with prepositional Complement
  Verb grouptonoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Complement  
The club's deficitamountedto   536596.
Inflationhas fallento4.1 per cent.
His embarrassmentturnedtoanger.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

I.1 The `change' group I.2 The `increase' and `decrease' group I.3 The `amount' group
I.1 The `change' group

These verbs indicate that something changes to something else. The verbs convert, shade, and turn are link verbs (see Chapter 5).

  • Stir until the mixture changes to a smooth paste.
  • It has a tennis court that effortlessly converts to an ice hockey rink in the winter.
  • Her voice dropped to a whisper.
  • A couple of months later, their euphoria had turned to gloom.
change convert crumble drop extend rise shade sink turn

The verbs change and turn also have the pattern V from n to n. See Ch2 Sec18

I.2 The `increase' and `decrease' group

These verbs indicate that a quantity, level, or thing increases or decreases. The prepositional phrase indicates the final quantity or level. The noun group following the preposition to is always an amount. This pattern is V to amount.

  • We are pushing for interest rates to come down to 8 per cent at least and perhaps even 5.
  • Sales decreased to $2.1 billion.
  • Average tea prices in London have fallen to 105 pence a kilo, the lowest for three months.
  • The number of people injured has increased to almost a thousand, according to the country's radio station.
balloon build climb decline decrease dip dive drop explode fall increase jump mushroom plummet plunge rise shrink sink slide slip slump soar surge swell tumble widen
build up come down creep up go down go up shoot up
243
I.3 The `amount' group

These verbs are used when indicating a total or the result of a calculation. They are link verbs (see Chapter 5). The noun group following the preposition to is always an amount. This pattern is V to amount.

  • He said defence spending amounted to 17,600 million rupees this year.
  • In 1894 Hamilton scored 196 runs, which averaged out to slightly more than 1 per game.
amount come
add up average out
I.4 Verbs with other meanings

There are two other verbs which have this structure. The verb amount is a link verb (see Chapter 5).

  • This amounts to a major concession by the authorities.
amount
boil down
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Complement

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Complement.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) There are only three phrasal verbs with this structure, add up, average out, and boil down. The pattern is V P to amount.

Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
Active voice: V to n/-ing
  Verb grouptonoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Headmitstohaving self-doubts.
Iapologizedtoher.
Joebeckonedtohis brother.
Hedid not returntothe subject.
Passive voice: be V-ed to
  Verb groupto  
SubjectVerbPrepositionAdjunct (optional)
These rulesmust be adheredto.  
We're being liedtoevery day.
244
Phrasal verbs: V P to n/-ing
  Verb groupParticletonoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object  
  Don't giveintotheir demands.
Half of themowneduptohaving revealed their friends' secrets.
Shenever talkeddowntostudents.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

II.1 The `talk' group II.9 The `agree' group II.17 The `adapt' group
II.2 The `admit' group II.10 The `subscribe' group II.18 The `react' group
II.3 The `swear' group II.11 The `stick' group II.19 The `attend' group
II.4 The `point' group II.12 The `cling' group II.20 The `knuckle down' group
II.5 The `refer' group II.13 The `affiliate' group II.21 The `lend' group
II.6 The `condescend' group II.14 The `come' group II.22 The `cotton on' group
II.7 The `beckon' group II.15 The `progress' and `switch' group II.23 The `listen' group
II.8 The `submit' group II.16 The `turn' group II.24 The `correspond' group
II.1 The `talk' group

These verbs are concerned with speaking or writing. The prepositional phrase indicates who someone speaks or writes to. We include here propose, which indicates that someone asks someone else to marry them; read, which indicates that someone reads something aloud to someone; and whistle, which indicates that someone calls an animal by whistling. The verbs chat, speak 6, and talk are reciprocal verbs (see Chapter 6).

  • `Don't lie to me,' she shouted.
  • She was certain that in the next few months he would propose to her.
  • You had better attend to the issue of the unauthorized cleaning and report back to me in writing.
  • Hello. Can I speak to the doctor on call, please.
  • He needed to talk to someone.
In the case of mumble and mutter, the noun group following the preposition is usually a reflexive pronoun. This pattern is V to pron-refl.
  • Finally the woman closed her eyes and began to mumble to herself.
apologize blab boast brag chat complain confess lie mumble mutter natter pray preach propose read reply report sing speak talk telegraph transmit whisper whistle write
open up report back write back write in write off
245 Most of these verbs also have the patterns V to n about n and V about n to n. A prepositional phrase beginning with about is used after or, less frequently, before the prepositional phrase beginning with to. It indicates the topic of the speech or writing.
  • She says when she complained to her supervisor about the behaviour, no action was taken.
  • He was forced to change his plea after he bragged about the killing to a pal in jail.

A few of these verbs also have the pattern V to n for n, which is explained at the end of this section.

II.2 The `admit' group

These verbs are concerned with admitting something. The prepositional phrase indicates what someone admits doing.

  • Within a week two young men had confessed to the crime and been arrested.
  • Unfortunately, for obvious reasons officials who are responsible for public safety do not always own up to their shortcomings.
The preposition to is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The most co-operative men in Europe are to be found in the former East Germany, where only 42.7 per cent admitted to being useless around the house.
admit confess
own up
II.3 The `swear' group

These verbs are concerned with saying firmly or formally that something happened, exists, or is true.

  • But he didn't plant that key here, or make you an anonymous call. I'm prepared to swear to that.
The preposition to is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • Eva testified to having seen Herndon with his gun on the stairs.
attest swear testify
II.4 The `point' group

These verbs are concerned with showing that something happened, exists, or is true. The Subject is inanimate.

  • She can't remember committing the murder, although all the evidence points to her guilt.
  • The range of products available also testifies to a widespread dissatisfaction with traditional remedies.
attest point testify
II.5 The `refer' group

These verbs are concerned with referring to something.

  • The spokesperson also referred to the traumatic effects of the arrest on the mother and children.
allude refer
246 These verbs also have the pattern V to n as n. The prepositional phrase beginning with as indicates what someone or something is called.
  • She always referred to the murder as `that business'.
II.6 The `condescend' group

These verbs are concerned with speaking to someone in a way that shows a superior or disrespectful attitude towards them.

  • Although Moffett makes his field attractive through the pictures and a simple, lively style, he does not condescend to his readers.
  • We're willing to work with them. But we're not going to be dictated to by them.
  • He was also an excellent teacher, who never talked down to his pupils, and who was invariably courteous, kind, and considerate.
condescend dictate
talk back talk down
II.7 The `beckon' group

These verbs are concerned with communicating with someone by means of a gesture or movement.

  • He beckoned to Egan, who followed him out into the hall.
  • Surya bowed to Danlo and said, `I'm honoured to make your acquaintance.'
beckon bow curtsy mime nod signal wave
II.8 The `submit' group

These verbs are concerned with submissive behaviour. This includes:

  • behaving in a humble or ingratiating way e.g. grovel, suck up
  • giving in on an issue e.g. submit, yield
  • The Government will not bow to pressure from the Right.
  • He's repeated that France will not give in to US demands to reduce EC agricultural subsidies.
  • You strongly imply that we kowtow to advertisers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
  • We cannot and will not submit to those forces who wish to panic our city and who disregard the value of human life.
  • She kept sucking up to the teachers, especially Mrs Clements and Miss Pearson.
bend bow capitulate defer genuflect grovel kowtow pander submit succumb surrender toady yield
bow down cave in give in knuckle under sell out suck up
II.9 The `agree' group

These verbs are concerned with agreeing that something can happen.

  • With characteristic astuteness, he spoke separately to all those involved, leading them to believe that he would soon accede to their request.
247 A scheme to share the costs between insurers and taxpayers has been agreed to, but Parliament has yet to approve it.
  • Doctors faced with an adult patient's refusal to consent to proposed treatment had to consider the true scope and basis of that refusal.
accede acquiesce agree assent consent
come around/round
II.10 The `subscribe' group

These verbs are concerned with holding a particular belief.

  • They regard anyone who does not adhere to their beliefs as being `inferior.'
  • I've personally never subscribed to the view that either sex is superior to the other, but I do believe that we're different.
adhere cleave cling hold subscribe
II.11 The `stick' group

These verbs are concerned with obeying a rule or keeping an agreement.

  • If the appropriate codes of practice or building codes had been adhered to, then, in fact, the damage that was sustained in this event could have been significantly reduced.
  • He concedes that there are no firm guarantees that the different political parties will stick to their agreement.
adhere conform hold keep stick
II.12 The `cling' group

These verbs are concerned with holding onto something, or being or becoming attached to something, either physically or metaphorically.

  • Delegates at the Conference have accused the President of attempting to cling to power by any means possible, including assassinating his opponents.
  • This rattle with three bears will keep babies amused for longer. It clips to buggies and carrycots. The stuff sticks to your teeth.
adhere attach bind cleave cling clip connect mould stick

The verbs hang on and hold on are included in Section 26 above (V on to n).

II.13 The `affiliate' group

These verbs are concerned with joining a group or organization.

  • But the government recently liberalised industrial relations, allowing trade unions the option not to affiliate to the Congress of Trade Unions.
  • The Liberal Democrats were reeling last night after one of their candidates defected to Labour just a day before polling.
248
affiliate defect sign transfer
go over
II.14 The `come' group

These verbs indicate that something comes to someone or someone gets something. We include here come 11, occur, and come back, which indicate that a thought comes into someone's mind.

  • The attention they deserve will come to them quite naturally. No problem.
  • I had rather forgotten what the garden looked like, but as Patty described it, it all came back to me.
  • At the end of the lease, the properties revert to Community Housing, which can sell them on the open market.
accrue come fall go occur pass revert transfer
come back
II.15 The `progress' and `switch' group

These verbs are concerned with starting to be in a different situation. This includes:

  • doing something different
  • starting to have, use, or deal with something different e.g. switch
  • going back to a previous situation e.g. return, revert
  • Of all the conventional farmers around here, he's the best. In his heart I know he'd like to change over to the organic method we're using.
  • Daniel forced himself to concentrate. But it was no use. His mind kept flashing back to the previous night.
  • In various interviews with the media today, he explained why he agreed to return to his old job as foreign minister.
  • He shot to fame with `Hello Darling', but his follow-up releases failed to achieve the same success.
  • Eat as much freshly prepared or raw food as you can and switch to low-fat, wholemeal foods wherever possible.
The preposition to is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The graduate trainee may progress to dealing i.e. working in the trading office of a broker.
accede ascend attain catapult change come convert descend fast-forward get graduate move progress regress return revert shoot stoop succeed switch switch (Your attention) turn
change down change over flash back (Your mind) get back go over move on move over switch over win through
II.16 The `turn' group

These verbs are concerned with starting to talk about a different topic. We include here keep, which indicates that someone continues talking about the same topic, and skip, which indicates that someone misses out part of an account they are giving or something they are reading.

249 Going back to sentencing, I think magistrates' courts in particular are much too inconsistent with their sentencing.
  • Before you say that you know your skin type, and skip to the next chapter, let me tell you that the odds are in favor of your being wrong in your assessment.
  • Let us now turn to the problem of compensating the population for higher food prices.
come keep move return revert skip switch turn
come back get back go back switch over
II.17 The `adapt' group

These verbs are concerned with adapting to a new situation.

  • NATO is clearly trying to show it can adapt to the changes in Europe.
  • At first Maria could not adjust to life in London.
acclimatize accommodate adapt adjust readjust
II.18 The `react' group

These verbs are concerned with reacting or responding to something that has happened or been done.

  • One of the first world leaders to react to the news from Moscow was the British Prime Minister.
  • By the end of the day, Sri Lanka, replying to Australia's 256, had made 265 for three wickets.
overreact react reply (to a score) respond

The verbs react 1 and respond 1 also have the pattern V to n with n. The prepositional phrase beginning with with indicates what someone does in response to something.

  • The government responded to the rebellion with the declaration of a state of emergency.
II.19 The `attend' group

These verbs are concerned with dealing with something or serving someone.

  • He added that the President had left the meeting early to attend to other matters.
  • He ministered to the survivors and explored the uninhabited island.
  • He told me, `Well, don't worry about it, I'll see to it.'
attend cater minister see tend
250
II.20 The `knuckle down' group

These verbs are concerned with starting or continuing a task.

  • If you'll excuse me, I really have to get back to work.
  • Right, lads, let's get down to work.
  • He then returned to his examination of the distant vessel.
The preposition to is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • I knew I needed a house for Rebecca to be independent in, so I knuckled down to getting it for her.
return turn
buckle down get around/round get back get down go back knuckle down settle down
II.21 The `lend' group

These verbs are concerned with giving, lending, or selling something to someone. The thing given or sold is not explicitly mentioned.

  • The results of a survey released today show that Americans are still giving to charity despite hard economic times.
  • However, although he has recovered from recent ill-health, he has decided the time is right to hand over to a younger man.
  • In this climate, banks were eager to lend to anybody with a good business idea.
  • The vendor finally agreed to sell to me for *53158,000, provided contracts could be exchanged within a week.
contribute give lend pass sell subscribe
hand over
II.22 The `cotton on' group

These verbs are concerned with becoming aware of something.

  • Others later cottoned on to the song's potential.
  • Sun-worshippers have wised up to the fact that a tan is an indicator of skin damage.
awaken
catch on cotton on tune in wake up wise up
II.23 The `listen' group

These verbs are concerned with listening to something or someone.

  • I don't concentrate on what songs mean when I listen to them.
  • When I joined the Post Office, I signed a formal notice to say I would not listen in to telephone conversations.
listen
listen in tune in
251
II.24 The `correspond' group

These verbs indicate that one thing is similar to another or is linked to it in some way. This includes:

  • resembling something
  • matching a description, idea, or standard
  • having a connection with something

The verbs correlate, correspond, relate, and match up +5 are reciprocal verbs (see Chapter 6) or ergative reciprocal verbs (see Chapter 8).

  • The hitchhiker was on the Portmarnock to Balgriffin road, and he answered to Rory's description.
  • It consists of three slabs inscribed on both sides with a text that approximates to Latin.
  • That number corresponds to a telephone number on this list he gave me.
  • How does your job measure up to your ideal?
answer approximate conform correlate correspond equate relate
hark back match up measure up stack up
II.25 The `relate' group

These verbs indicate that one thing relates to another.

  • The perjury charge relates to allegations that Berry lied under oath to an insurance company investigator.
apply pertain relate
II.26 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this structure.

  • This is money which belongs to the members and should be carefully nurtured.
  • He said that that his main task at the moment was to retake the town of Tappita which fell to the rebels on the 28th of March.
  • What happened to James?
  • These men worry when it comes time to compete for loans, these small farmers will lose out to urban businessmen. Britain objected to the idea when it was first put forward by President Mitterrand at the G7 summit in Munich.
In the case of aspire, commit, object, and resort, the preposition to is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • This law was prompted by fears that poor people might resort to selling their body parts for hard cash.
In the case of lead, the preposition to is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V to n -ing.
  • The popularity of the fax has led to large sums being invested in its development.
add appeal aspire belong cater commit connect contribute fall get happen incline lead look (not) matter object point refer relate report resort speak succumb turn warm yield
252
add on get across get through go back lose out open up square up stand up
Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed to. However, not all verbs with this structure are used in the passive. The following verbs are the ones which are most frequently passive.

adhere agree allude attend attest cater dictate lie listen object refer respond see speak

c) Phrasal verb patterns are the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb. The passive pattern, be V-ed P to, does not often occur.

Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
V to n
  Verb grouptonoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
Helivedtothe age of 80.
Danielhad movedtoLos Angeles.
Phrasal verbs: V P to n
  Verb groupParticletonoun group
SubjectVerb   Adjunct  
Our associationgoesbacktothe early 1970's.
TheywentroundtoSue's house.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

III.1 The `move' group III.2 The `stretch' group III.3 The `bleed to death' and `sweep to victory' group
III.1 The `move' group

These verbs are concerned with going to or reaching a place. We include here come up and cuddle up, which indicate that someone moves close to someone else.

  • What does make me uncomfortable is when people come up to me and say: `I love your clothes.'
  • The flats are well positioned for young couples or single people who commute to London.
253 As soon as I heard this I went round to his mother's house to give what comfort I could.
  • We were going to move to Florida, but then he got sick so now I'm going alone.
ascend come commute cross defect divert emigrate escape flock get go gravitate immigrate journey move repair report retire return rise throng transfer withdraw
back up come around/round come up cuddle up go along go around/round report back rise up run away
III.2 The `stretch' group

These verbs are used to indicate that something extends to a particular point or lasts until a particular time. We include here date back and go back, which are used to indicate that something began or was made at a particular time in the past.

  • The beautiful gardens date back to the 14th century and are the same age as the original building.
  • I may live to a ripe old age, but who knows.
  • The waters stretched to the horizon, marred only by the twenty-four-mile Causeway.
extend live reach stretch
date back go back
III.3 The `bleed to death' and `sweep to victory' group

With each of these verbs, only one or two specific nouns can occur in the prepositional phrase.

The verbs bleed, choke, freeze, haemorrhage, and starve are followed by to death.
  • Reports say he bled to death after a bullet severed a main artery in his thigh.
The verbs brake, grind, pull, and shudder are followed by to a halt or to a stop.
  • Egan braked to a halt at the end of a pier overlooking an old boat basin.
The verbs drift off, drop off, and nod off are followed by to sleep.
  • She drifted off to sleep before he could reply.
The verbs coast, cruise, and sweep are followed by to victory or to a win.
  • His socialist government swept to victory in the general election in June.
The verb come is followed by to court.
  • When this case comes to court the owners face a maximum penalty of *53800.
The verb open is followed by to the public.
  • The show opens to the public at 3.45 pm.
The verb retire is followed by to bed.
  • Some time after midnight, he retired to bed.
The verb spring is followed by to life.
  • He says the economy won't spring to life on its own.
254
bleed brake choke coast come cruise freeze grind haemorrhage open pull retire shudder spring starve sweep
drift off drop off nod off
III.4 The `wake' group

These verbs are concerned with waking up. The prepositional phrase indicates what is happening when someone wakes up.

  • One night I woke to the sound of policemen banging on the door.
awake awaken wake
III.5 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this structure.

  • The city resounds to the heavy thud of artillery and tank fire.
  • When I was about five years old, I remember very vividly singing along to a Loretta Lynn record along with my mother.
dance rally redound resound thrill
carry over sing along
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Other related patterns
V about n to n
See meaning group II.1 above.
V for n to n
See V to n for n below.
V to n about n
See meaning group II.1 above.
V to n as n
See meaning group II.5 above. 255
V to n for n, V P to n for n

The verb is followed by two prepositional phrases, the first beginning with to and the second beginning with for. With the phrasal verb, there is a particle after the verb.

Most verbs with this pattern are concerned with asking someone for something.

  • Detectives have appealed to the public for information on the missing girl.
  • Write to the appropriate tourist office for details.
appeal apply pray write write off

There is one other verb which has this pattern. The prepositional phrase indicates why someone apologizes.

  • She apologized to them for the delay.
apologize Appeal and apply also have the pattern V for n to n, but this does not often occur.
V to n that
See Ch1 Sec10
V to n to-inf

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with to, and a to-infinitive.

Verbs with this pattern are concerned with saying or indicating with a gesture that you want someone to do something.

  • He appealed to them not to go in for revenge and provoke civil war.
  • He gestured to Marcia to sit down.
appeal gesture motion nod signal
V to n with n
See meaning group II.18 above.
V to n with quote
See Ch1 Sec13
V to num

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase consisting of to and a number.

  • Chavez and all the others counted to ten before coming back up.
256 count
31 V towards/toward n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of towards or toward and a noun group. With some verbs, the preposition is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.

This pattern has one structure:

  • Verb with prepositional Object
    We are heading towards war.
V towards/toward n/-ing
  Verb grouptowards/towardnoun group/-ing clause
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Britainwas leaningtowardsthe French view.
Weare racingtowardscomplete economic collapse.
Bernardworkedtowardsreversing these attitudes.

Verbs with this pattern belong to the following meaning groups:

1 The `head' group 3 The `strive' group 5 The `cool' group
2 The `tend' group 4 The `help' group 6 Verbs with other meanings
1 The `head' group

These verbs indicate that someone or something is going to be in a particular state or situation, or is going to do a particular thing.

  • The ruling party seems to be heading towards a resounding defeat.
  • The steady increase in asthma deaths is one reason why doctors are shifting towards greater use of preventative drugs, rather than short-term relief.
With most of these verbs, the preposition towards is occasionally followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The two political parties which form Liechtenstein's government have been edging towards joining the UN for twenty years.
edge evolve head move race rush shift turn veer
2 The `tend' group

These verbs indicate that someone or something is likely to have a particular characteristic or opinion, or to do a particular thing.

  • They're very anxious, and they tend towards depression.
257
incline lean tend
3 The `strive' group

These verbs are concerned with trying to achieve something.

  • Vision scientists are groping towards an understanding of what the brain does when it sees - or conjures up - an image.
  • Students participating in the programme are encouraged to strive towards a high level of achievement.
The preposition towards is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • We need to work towards giving women and children the power and resources to protect themselves.
grope strive work
4 The `help' group

These verbs indicate that something is partly responsible for something happening or being achieved. We include here contribute 3, which indicates that someone is partly responsible for paying for something.

  • People from the neighbourhood have contributed towards the cost of the shrine.
  • The slowing down of the domestic economy helped towards the improvement in exports.
The preposition towards is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • The document they have drafted should help towards finding a solution to the crisis.
contribute count help lead
5 The `cool' group

These verbs are concerned with a change in someone's attitude. The prepositional phrase indicates the person or thing their attitude relates to.

  • When Stephanie didn't return his calls, David thought she had cooled towards him.
cool soften warm
6 Verbs with other meanings

There are two other verbs which have this pattern.

  • These men gravitate towards trendy clubs.
  • Steve Homans and his colleagues are looking towards ways in which arthritis could be prevented.
gravitate look
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has no passive.

32 V under n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of under and a noun group.

This pattern has one structure:

  • Verb with prepositional Object
    He is smarting under his recent humiliation.
V under n
  Verb groupundernoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
Franklinchafedunderthis arrangement.
Many campaignershave been labouringunderan illusion.

Most verbs with this pattern indicate that someone is experiencing something troublesome, worrying, or upsetting, or indicate how they are coping with it.

  • Did your informant say how the cosmonauts were bearing up under this psychological pressure, which must be quite considerable?
  • Mr White resigned two weeks ago amid reports that he was chafing under the company's new ownership.
  • But last summer's recovery was aborted for one simple reason: consumers were groaning under the weight of cripplingly high interest rates.
chafe groan labour smart
bear up
Verbs with other meanings

There are two other verbs which have this pattern.

  • The bar counter groans under the weight of huge plates of the freshest fish, giant crabs and live lobsters.
  • Despite their radically different backgrounds, both authors labour under the strange delusion that the world is run by feminists.
groan labour
Structure information

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) There is only one phrasal verb with this structure, bear up. The pattern is V P under n.

33 V with n
The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of with and a noun group. In Structure I, the preposition is followed by an `-ing' form. The passive pattern is be V-ed with.

Many verbs with this pattern are reciprocal verbs. With these verbs, the prepositional phrase indicates one of the people, things, or groups involved in an activity or situation. These verbs are dealt with in Chapter 6, and are not included in the lists in this section.

This pattern has three structures:

  • Structure I: Verbs in phase
    They will proceed with building the model.
  • Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
    I sympathize with them.
  • Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
    They screamed with laughter.
Structure I: Verbs in phase
V with -ing
  Verb groupwith-ing  
SubjectVerb     Completive
The volunteerswill helpwithteachingEnglish.
NATOwill not proceedwithmodernisingexisting short-range weapons.
Phrasal verbs: V P with -ing
  Verb groupParticlewith-ing  
SubjectVerb       Completive
The EC commissionwill goaheadwithdraftinga formal proposal.
Weshould pressonwithidentifyingour requirements.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

I.1 The `proceed' group

These verbs are concerned with doing something that you had planned to do.

  • I couldn't get on with clearing up in the kitchen because they kept quarrelling.
  • A Treasury spokesman said the consultant's list of options would give a clearer idea on how to proceed with overhauling the Treasury building.
proceed
get on go ahead go through press on push ahead
260 When the preposition is followed by a noun group, these verbs have Structure II: see meaning group II.11.
I.2 The `help' group

These verbs are concerned with helping someone to do something.

  • They can also assist with organising car hire, ferry tickets, and flights to Geneva.
  • They help with feeding the cows.
assist help
help out muck in

When the preposition is followed by a noun group, these verbs have Structure II: see meaning group II.13.

Structure information: Verbs in phase

a) The verb is followed by the preposition with and the `-ing' form of another verb. The verbs are in phase, and together form a complex verb group. This means that the actions or states expressed by the two verbs cannot be separated from each other. For example, if you proceed with making something, the proceeding and the making are not two processes, but one.

The complex verb group is followed by a group, phrase, or clause which completes the pattern of the second verb. In the structure tables above, this is called a Completive. For example, if the second verb is normally followed by a noun group, then the Completive of the complex verb group will be a noun group.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Structure II: Verb with prepositional Object
Active voice: V with n
  Verb groupwithnoun group
SubjectVerbprepositional Object  
The planecollidedwitha pine tree.
Ican't copewithrelationships.
The placewas crawlingwithpeople.
Ifiddledwiththe radio.
Passive voice: be V-ed with
  Verb groupwith
SubjectVerbPreposition
The matterhas been dealtwith.
The phonehad been tamperedwith.
261
Phrasal verbs
Active voice: V P with n
  Verb groupParticlewithnoun group
SubjectVerb   prepositional Object  
We're goingaheadwiththe project.
Ican't goalongwiththis plan.
Passive voice: be V-ed P with
  Verb groupParticlewith
SubjectVerb   Preposition
The present systemshould be doneawaywith.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

II.1 The `brim' group II.8 The `sympathize' group II.15 The `twiddle' group
II.2 The `glisten' group II.9 The `associate' group II.16 The `abscond' group
II.3 The `echo' group II.10 The `cope' group II.17 The `break' group
II.4 The `fit in' group II.11 The `continue' group II.18 The `catch up' group
II.5 The `agree' and `disagree' group II.12 The `dabble' group II.19 The `rankle' group
II.6 The `remonstrate' group II.13 The `assist' group II.20 The `collide' group
II.7 The `check' group II.14 The `interfere' group II.21 Verbs with other meanings
II.1 The `brim' group

These verbs indicate that something has or contains a lot of something else, or that someone is full of a quality or feeling. We include here fill and fill up, which indicate that something becomes full of something else.

  • By the end of the day, Juliana was brimming over with new-found confidence.
  • The town was crawling with visitors today.
  • Both horse and rider were dripping with sweat within five minutes.
  • Catherine's eyes filled with tears.
abound brim bristle bubble bulge burst bustle buzz be crawling drip fill flow groan hum ooze overflow resonate run seethe swarm be swimming teem
brim over fill up
II.2 The `glisten' group

These verbs indicate that something is bright or shining. The prepositional phrase indicates the cause or nature of the brightness.

  • The room was blazing with light.
262 The tanned skin of his arms and face glistened with sweat.
blaze gleam glisten glitter glow sparkle
II.3 The `echo' group

These verbs indicate that a place has a lot of sound in it.

  • After dark, the pubs and inns echo with music and laughter.
echo resound ring throb
II.4 The `fit in' group

These verbs are concerned with being compatible with something else, or like something else. We include here comply and conform, which indicate that something is done in accordance with a rule or someone's wishes.

  • The state where a ship is registered is also responsible for seeing that all its craft comply with international regulations.
  • Nearly all chores can wait or be organised to fit in with a weekly schedule.
  • Her economic and social class did not square with her socialism.
  • Choose shades which tone in with your natural colouring - warm browns for dark skins, peach for medium skins and dusky pinks for fair skins.
accord chime (not) compare comply conform equate square tone
blend in chime in fit in tie in tone in
II.5 The `agree' and `disagree' group

These verbs are concerned with agreeing or disagreeing with something such as a plan. We include here play along, which indicates that someone pretends to agree with something.

  • Not everyone agreed with his conclusions.
  • I do not disagree with this viewpoint.
  • The three main political parties are likely to go along with the plan, despite some private reservations.
agree (not) argue disagree quarrel quibble
fall in go along play along
II.6 The `remonstrate' group

These verbs are concerned with speaking to someone in a particular way.

  • You can't actually reason with those people because they don't want to be reasoned with.
  • A man remonstrated with them but they shouted obscenities at him, so he fetched two policemen.
263
(not) argue bargain commiserate consult expostulate intercede joke laugh level plead reason remonstrate visit

Many other verbs with this meaning, for example gossip, speak, and talk, are reciprocal verbs (see Chapter 6).

II.7 The `check' group

These verbs are concerned with checking something. The prepositional phrase indicates who you ask about the thing you are checking.

  • Remember, these signs do not necessarily mean malignant melanoma but it's best to check with your doctor to make sure.
check double-check
II.8 The `sympathize' group

These verbs are concerned with feeling sympathy or feeling a connection with someone else.

  • I really sympathize with the two officers that had to make that decision.
empathize identify sympathize
II.9 The `associate' group

These verbs are concerned with associating with someone, or beginning to have an association with them.

  • The point is, I'm not supposed to associate with Westerners, except in the way of business.
  • His wife says she'd have known if he was carrying on with any other woman.
  • Many of them had sympathised with the occupation and had even collaborated with the invading army.
  • Before you register with a new doctor, ask around to find one who is good with children.
  • Finally, the young man and I parted and he took up with a 20-year-old, and later I learned they had two children.
affiliate align assimilate associate cavort collaborate commune consort co-operate dally engage hobnob integrate register sign socialize visit
carry on fall in fool around get in get off go around/round keep in move in play around run around sleep around tag along take up
II.10 The `cope' group

These verbs are concerned with dealing or coping with a problem.

  • Riots on the main university campus have been dealt with by the security forces, who showed little or no mercy.
  • What is astonishing is that the Government refuses to grapple with the problem of over-production in meat and milk.
264 In the case of cope, the preposition with is sometimes followed by an `-ing' clause.
  • She has had to cope with losing all her previous status and money.
battle contend cope deal fight grapple juggle struggle tussle wrestle
II.11 The `continue' group

These verbs are concerned with continuing to do something, or doing something that has been planned.

  • I want to continue with my career as a TV presenter, to make the most of my abilities and my brain and to do something worthwhile.
  • In the New Year, the district board will vote on whether to go ahead with the plan.
continue persevere persist proceed stick
carry on follow through forge ahead get on go ahead go on go through plough on press on push ahead struggle on
See also Structure I above.
II.12 The `dabble' group

These verbs are concerned with getting involved with something or someone, or doing something to something or someone. This includes:

  • getting involved in something in a superficial way e.g. dabble
  • altering something slightly e.g. fiddle, tinker
  • using something to do or make something e.g. experiment, work
  • treating someone badly e.g. mess, trifle

We also include here flirt and toy, which indicate that someone is considering an idea.

  • He dabbled with jazz rock and heavy metal.
  • Well, I didn't experiment with drugs until I was in my mid-20s.
  • For a brief period, Macmillan flirted with the idea of a new centre party to rally progressive opinion.
  • We were jamming, playing around with a melody.
  • Margaret Thatcher talked tough on benefits, but she merely tinkered with the system when it was reviewed in the mid-1980s.
  • He was not a man to be trifled with.
  • Sometimes Hammons even works with materials created by other artists.
(not) bother dabble deal engage experiment fiddle flirt mess tangle tinker toy trifle work
fiddle about play around
265
II.13 The `assist' group

These verbs are concerned with helping someone to do something. The prepositional phrase indicates the task involved or the thing that needs dealing with.

  • For the rest of the time he was left to his own devices, though expected to do his quota of domestic chores and to assist with the gardening.
  • She loved helping out with amateur dramatic productions.
assist help
help out muck in
See also Structure I above.
II.14 The `interfere' group

These verbs are concerned with interfering in a situation, or making something worse in some way.

  • They say, however, they will not interfere with press freedom.
  • And the other problem is where people are too keen and try to muck about with the system.
  • He maintained that official records had been tampered with to create proof.
fool interfere meddle mess tamper
fool around mess about muck about
II.15 The `twiddle' group

These verbs are concerned with touching, playing with, or physically doing something to something, often with no clear purpose.

  • Chef had finished fiddling about with his pots and pans, and was serving out the vegetables.
  • Do you want to come and play with my electric train?
  • `I don't have many possessions,' he says, twiddling with his thin, goatee beard.
fiddle fidget fumble fuss play tinker toy twiddle
fiddle about mess about play around
II.16 The `abscond' group

These verbs are concerned with taking something without permission.

  • Unfortunately, his partners were crooks and absconded with the funds, leaving Taylor to face the creditors.
  • They bought all this gear and people walked off with it, they never saw it again.
abscond decamp
go off make off walk off
II.17 The `break' group

These verbs are concerned with ending a connection or getting rid of something.

  • He was sacked from the shadow cabinet in 1968 for his alleged racism, and eventually broke with the party over the Common Market.
266 The long-range goal must be to do away with nuclear weapons altogether.
break dispense finish part
break off do away
II.18 The `catch up' group

These verbs are concerned with reaching or remaining at a particular level or position. The prepositional phrase indicates who you are following, or what topic or action is involved. We include here fall behind, which indicates that someone fails to remain at a particular level.

  • If children are removed from their poor environments, they can catch up with other children.
  • Hard-pressed homeowners can soon expect even tougher action from banks and building societies if they fall behind with mortgage repayments.
catch up fall behind keep up
II.19 The `rankle' group

These verbs indicate the effect of something on someone. The prepositional phrase indicates the person involved. The Subject indicates the thing that has the effect.

  • Well, I must say, this place seems to agree with you. You all look very healthy.
  • The memories of that game will live with me forever.
  • Losing to Manchester United the way we did still rankles with everyone.
agree disagree live rankle (not) wash
II.20 The `collide' group

These verbs indicate that one thing hits or joins another.

  • Two people were killed today when their car collided with a roadblock set up by protesting French truckers.
collide dock impact
II.21 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this structure.

  • The continuing process of patient negotiation has met with limited success.
  • The decision to free him rests with the Belgian Justice Minister.
  • In some other spheres, the Conservatives have sided with consumers against special-interest groups, and have won.
  • Weathermen advised people to stock up with food and fuel.
belong bind connect gamble meet rank rest settle side
stock up
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Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

a) The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object.

b) This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed with. Not all verbs with this structure are used in the passive, although most of the verbs in meaning groups II.6, II.10, II.12, and II.14 are. The following verbs are the ones which are most frequently passive.

cope deal dispense do away experiment interfere mess reason tamper tinker toy trifle

c) The phrasal verb patterns are the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Structure III: Verb with Adjunct
V with n
  Verb groupwithnoun group
SubjectVerbAdjunct  
Herespondedwitha stream of abuse.
Hewas tremblingwithexcitement.
Phrasal verbs: V P with n
  Verb groupParticlewithnoun group
SubjectVerb   Adjunct  
Simonchippedinwitha story about his father.
Shedoubledupwithlaughter.

Verbs with this structure belong to the following meaning groups:

III.1 The `tremble' group III.2 The `begin' and `end' group III.3 The `respond' group
III.1 The `tremble' group

These verbs indicate that someone does something or has a particular appearance or physical sensation because of what they feel. This includes:

  • moving e.g. squirm, tremble
  • making a noise e.g. hoot, snort
  • someone's eyes having a particular appearance e.g. blaze, glisten
  • Her eyes blazed with fury.
  • The boys hooted with laughter as they watched the man in the water being hauled into the motorboat, drenched and dripping.
  • His face lit up with pleasure.
  • Eve fell into her chair. She was trembling with rage.
268
beam blaze (Your eyes) boil brighten (Your eyes) bristle bubble burn cackle cloud (Your eyes/face) crow cry explode gleam (Your eyes) glisten (Your eyes) glitter (Your eyes) glow groan hoot howl laugh quake quiver reel roar scream seethe shake shake (Your voice) shine (Your eyes) shriek shudder sigh smoulder snort sparkle (Your eyes) sparkle squeak squeal squirm swell throb tingle tremble
bubble over double up fall about light up (Your eyes/face)
III.2 The `begin' and `end' group

These verbs are concerned with beginning or ending. The prepositional phrase indicates what happens or is done at the beginning or end of something.

  • The proceedings began with a minute's silence in memory of those who died in the revolution.
  • It's non-stop music right through until ten thirty and we'll kick off with Def Leppard.
The preposition with is sometimes followed by a noun group and an `-ing' clause. This pattern is V with n -ing.
  • An earlier attempt by police to remove the demonstrators ended with a policeman being shot dead.
begin climax culminate end finish open start
kick off start off
III.3 The `respond' group

These verbs are concerned with responding to something that has been done, or compensating for it. The prepositional phrase indicates what someone does in response or as compensation. We include here oblige, which indicates what someone does in response to a request or a need.

  • We called up three economists today to ask how to eliminate the deficit and they obliged with very straightforward answers.
  • When that war ended and people demanded the restoration of their rights, the government responded with arrests and some police intimidation.
compensate counter oblige reply respond retaliate
III.4 The `chip in' group

These verbs are concerned with making a contribution to a conversation or activity.

  • Brett Allison chipped in with another goal for North Melbourne.
  • I was telling an anecdote when an Irishman interrupted with `You talk too much'.
interrupt
butt in chime in chip in join in pitch in
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III.5 Verbs with other meanings

There are three other verbs which have this structure.

  • Hurry up with that coffee, will you?
  • She sipped ice-cream soda, ate more candies, and sang along with the records.
come through hurry up sing along
Structure information: Verb with Adjunct

a) The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct.

b) This structure has no passive.

c) The phrasal verb pattern is the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb.

Productive uses

A prepositional phrase beginning with with is used with two additional meanings. These uses are productive, that is, they occur with a wide range of verbs.

1 The prepositional phrase indicates what someone uses to do something. An example is I shave with an old-fashioned Gillette razor.

2 The prepositional phrase indicates what company someone uses, for example when travelling or investing money. Examples are We flew with British Airways and My husband has banked with the Co-op since before the war.

Other related patterns
V with n to-inf

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with with, and a to-infinitive. Most of the verbs with this pattern are reciprocal verbs and are dealt with in Chapter 6.

The non-reciprocal verbs with this pattern are concerned with asking someone to do something. The verb contract is also used to indicate that someone agrees to do something, as in the second example below.

  • If you prefer, you can contract with us to deliver your cargo in our airship, which will be much cheaper than any other means.
  • We contract with airlines to take their excess capacity and then retail it as efficiently and cheaply as we can.
  • I pleaded with her to stop but she wouldn't.
contract plead
V with n that
See Ch1 Sec10
34 Less frequent patterns

There are some patterns with prepositions which apply to a very small number of verbs. They are collected together in this section.

V among pl-n

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of among and a plural noun group. The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct. This structure has no passive.

  • Citizens were forced to choose among candidates from one ruling party.
  • He is a happily unconventional genius who ranks among the great scientists of history.
choose rank
V adj among pl-n

The verb is followed by an adjective group and a prepositional phrase which consists of among and a plural noun group.

  • His prices rank high among contemporary photographers.
rank rate
V before n

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of before and a noun group. The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct. This structure has no passive.

  • The matter came before the High Court by way of an application for judicial review to stay the proceedings of April 28.
appear come
V behind n

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of behind and a noun group. The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object in the case of lag and trail, and an Adjunct in the case of fall in. This structure has no passive.

The phrasal verb fall in has the pattern V P behind n.

  • My mates and I fell in behind the marchers.
  • Men still lag behind women when it comes to buying and wearing fragrances.
lag trail
fall in
V down n

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of down and a noun group. The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct. This structure has no passive.

  • The men scaled a wall and climbed down scaffolding which had been erected for renovation work on the other side.
271
abseil climb roll
V past n

The verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of past and a noun group. The prepositional phrase is an Adjunct. This structure has no passive.

  • My puppy barged past my legs and leapt into Jilly's welcoming arms.
barge brush push shoulder