Phrasal verbs vs Prepositional verbs | Difference

Phrasal verbs vs prepositional verbs.

A phrase is a group of words that should give one specific meaning. Like ‘The chain of gold’ is one noun phrase. Similarly, there are many other phrases, like adjective phrases, noun phrases, adverb phrases, and prepositional phrases. In this article, we will study phrasal verbs vs prepositional verbs.  Phrasal verbs are combinations of ‘verbs and prepositions sometimes adverbs. Phrasal verbs mostly have different meanings from their original words.


S#VerbsAdverb / PrepositionsMeaningsExamples
1LookUpTake careShe looked up at him.
2PassedAwayDiedThe man passed away.
3BroughtUpTo nourishShe was brought up well.
4GiveUpLeave sthBeing failed he gave up.
5Comeacrossfind by chanceShe came across her boss for money.
 BreakOutTo start suddenlyThey broke out the program.
7LookingAfterTo take careWhy should I look after you?
8LookingForwardTo expectNever look forward to unknown people.
9agreewithSame opinionI agree with you.
Phrasal verbs vs prepositional verbs

Most of the phrasal verbs are separable too. But not all of them and it depends on the sentences and usage. Their numbers are specific. Check out the examples given below about phrasal verbs which can be separated from each other by adding another noun among them.


  • They turned the cap down.
  • We cut the tree down.
  • I hope you’ll back me up on test day
  • The children burn the car down by throwing stones at it.
  • Why did he call the meeting off?
  • She carried the game on without us.

Prepositional verbs.

VerbPrepositionsVerbs Prepositions
BlamedFor Remove  from

What is a prepositional verb?

Prepositional verbs are needy of objects without an object they won’t give complete sense. The object must be used after the prepositional verbs. Prepositional verbs contain verb + prepositions and give similar meanings to the original meaning of the verb.


  1. They are shouting at him.
  2. The teachers agreed with them.
  3. The citizen must comply with the rules and regulations of the country.
  4. Wild animals are barking at humans.
  5. She is looking at me.
  6. I am waiting for her.

Prepositional verbs with an object

Indeed, some of the prepositional verbs are separable too. They are very few. We place the objects between them, which are very small in number and specific too. Try not to mix them up with phrasal verbs. The difference is illustrated.

  1. Can you remind me of the test tomorrow morning, please?
  2. The teacher provided us the extra time.
  3. The students must thank the teacher for his kindness.
  4. She can excuse herself for not doing it.
  5. Never compare me with them.
  6. How can I hide him from his parents?
  7. John explained the problem to me.
  8. The rich man helped him with money.
  9. Educated parents boast to their children about their studies.
  10. The wife should never insist on the husband on expensive things.
  11. The trained swimmer rescued us from sinking.
  12. You could hide her from wild animals.

Comparing a prepositional verb to a phrasal verb

Both phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs consist of verbs and particles. Prepositional verbs consist of transitive verbs and propositions, and they are not separable, mostly. The meaning is quite similar to its original verb meaning. On the other hand, phrasal verbs consist of verbs + particles (prepositions & adverbs) phrasal verbs have idiomatic meanings, and the meaning is different from the meaning of the original verb. list of prepositional verbs.

Difference phrasal vs prepositional verbs

There are some differences between phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs.

A) Prepositional Verbs have a similar meaning to their original verbs, and the verbs are transitive verbs that contain prepositions after not adverbs.


  • The teachers are listening to students about their studies.
  • We should not be laughing at beggars.
  • children depend on their parents.
  • she got in the room on time.
  • she is looking for a job.

A phrasal verb is different from its original verb meaning. Phrasal verbs contain intransitive verbs and end with adverbs or propositions.


  • She looked up after him.
  • She was brought up well.
  • Never look forward to unknown people.
  • agree with you.
  • The man passed away.

B) The Prepositions verbs are non-separable mostly.

  • They listen to music.
  • We believe in faith.

In contrast, most phrasal verbs are separable. They are a combination of verbs and propositions.

  • We could not believe she cut the tree down.
  • The children burn the car down by throwing stones at it.

C) Almost all the Prepositional verbs need an object because they contain transitive verbs, and if we do not add an object the sentence won’t make complete sense.


  • She is laughing at him. ‘ laughing at‘ is a prepositional verb and ‘him’ is the object.
  • The teacher agreed with the students. ‘Agreed withpropositional verbs and the ‘students’ is an object.

In contrast, phrasal verbs are not needy of objects, but some of them require objects.


  • The thief tried to run away.
  • It was brought up by us.
  • When I woke up everyone had gone.

More related grammar:

Simple Present Tense, The parts of speech, The figure of speech