Inseparable Phrasal Verbs List and Usage

Inseparable phrasal verbs

When a verb is used together with an adverb or a preposition or both, they do not take same meaning as that of the original verb and such verbs are known as two-word verbs.

What is inseparable?

Inseparable in English means unable to be treated separately. Inseparable phrasal verbs cannot be separated, for instance, they can be transitive (takes a direct object), but you cannot insert the direct object into the middle of the phrasal verb.

Also, you can find out more on Transitive Verbs – Where to Use Them.

How to differentiate inseparable phrasal verbs

Inseparable phrasal verbs cannot be separated, unlike separable phrasal verbs which can be broken up by other words. For instance, inseparable phrasal verbs, you can insert other words into the middle of the separable phrasal verb.

Using examples of two-word verbs to show the difference will be as follows:

For instance, in an inseparable phrasal verb like “come across” which means to find something accidentally, it will be like this:

  • I came across my friend’s lost pen while arranging my locker.

In this example, you cannot insert other words in between “come” and “across.”

While inseparable phrasal verbs like “take back” which means to return, it will look like this in a sentence:

  • I need to take back my dress to the tailor.

In this sentence, you can also insert other words in between “take” and “back,” and it will look like this:

  • Where is my dress? I need to take it back to the tailor.

Examples of inseparable phrasal verbs

There are several examples of inseparable phrasal verbs, and they include:

  • Come across (something)

It means to find (something) accidentally

An example in a sentence looks like this:

While I was going to school, I came across a wallet on the road.

  • Back out of (something)

It means to fail to keep a commitment

An example in a sentence will look like this:

The wife backed out of her wedding vows to her husband and asked for a divorce.

  • Count on (something/ someone)

It means to rely on or depend on something or someone.

An example in a sentence will look like this:

I am counting on you to submit the assignment by tomorrow morning.

Or;

I am counting on my good grades to find a job.

  • Go over (something)

It means to review

An example in a sentence will be as follows:

I usually go over my work before submitting the test in an examination.

  • Fill in for (someone)

It means to substitute

An example in a sentence will look like this:

The lecturer will not be there to give the exam so his secretary will fill in for him to give out the tests.

  • Get rid of (something)

It means to throw away or eliminate something

An example in a sentence will look like this:

We need to get rid of the cockroaches in the house.

  • Look after (something/someone)

It means to take care of someone or something.

An example in a sentence will be as follows:

He was looking after the laboratory equipment at night to avoid them from getting stolen.

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Or;

I looked after my baby sister when my mother had gone to visit her friend.

  • Look forward to (something)

It means to feel excited or happy about something in the future.

An example in a sentence will look like this:

I am looking forward to finding a good paying job after my graduation.

  • Put up with (something/someone)

It means to tolerate someone or something unpleasant.

An example in a sentence will be as follows:

One of my friends is not very nice, but I put up with him because he sometimes helps me pay my bills.

Or;

My cat is sick, but I put up with it because it prevents rats in the house.

  • Look into (something)

It means to investigate.

An example in a sentence will look like this:

The police are looking into last night’s theft.

  • Run into (someone)

It means to meet unexpectedly.

An example in a sentence will be as follows:

I ran into my high school teacher at the mall last week- it has been six years since I saw her.

  • Settle on (something)

It means to choose or decide

An example in a sentence will look like this:

I thought on which career to take, and I finally settled on civil engineering.

  • Take after (someone)

It means to resemble someone in looks or personality.

An example in a sentence will be as follows:

She is lovely and hardworking- she takes after her grandmother.

  • Turn into (something)

It means to become.

An example in a sentence will look like this:

Her child turned into a beautiful woman.

  • Touch on (something)

It means to mention something briefly during a discussion or a speech.

An example in a sentence will look like this:

The professor touched on the students’ attendance in the meeting, but he did not go into much detail.

After going through this guide, you are sure to get adequate understanding of inseparable phrasal verbs and comprehend how to apply them.