Archive for February 16, 2010

inseparable phrasal verb: come up with

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Today,  I want to write about inseparable phrasal verbs. This means that the noun or pronoun must go at the end of the phrasal verb but never in the middle.  To give you an example, the phrasal verb “run into” means to meet someone by accident. For example:

I ran into an old friend from university when I was at the shopping mall.  (correct)

Do you remember Phil Smith from university? I ran into him when I was at the shopping mall.  (correct)

I ran an old friend from university into when I was at the shopping mall.  (incorrect)

Do you remember Phil Smith from university? I ran him into when I was at the shopping mall.  (incorrect)

Inseparable phrasal verbs will often end in a preposition rather than a noun.

Today’s phrasal verb “come up with” is an example of a three word phrasal verb. Almost all three word phrasal verbs are inseparable. “Come up with” has two meanings:

1. to think of an original idea. For example:

I came up with a good idea to help my company save money.

My boss wants me to come up with a new strategy for selling our product.

I’m having trouble coming up with a title for my book.

2. to produce something for a specific purpose. For example:

None of the students in the class were able to come up with the correct answer to the question.

I wanted to buy a new car, but I couldn’t come up with the money.

If I want to invest in this company, I have to come up with $10,000 by Friday.

This is a very common expression in English, especially the first definition. As I mentioned before, the best way to study is to memorize full sentences, so please try to do that with these examples. Good luck.

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