Archive for May 27, 2011

separable phrasal verb: rip off

Today is Friday, so that means it’s time for another phrasal verb. This week, I’ve chosen “rip off”. It has two meanings in English:

1. to charge someone too much money for something. For example:

My hotel in Hawaii charged me $300 for an extremely small room. They really ripped me off!

I was really ripped off at my hotel in Hawaii. (passive voice)

A: I’m paying $1500 a month for this apartment.

B: Really? For this place? I think your landlord is ripping you off.

I think you’re being ripped off by your landlord. (passive voice)

I spend over $400 for this necklace for my wife. I don’t know anything about jewelry though. I hope they didn’t rip me off.

I hope I wasn’t ripped off. (passive voice)

For this meaning, we can also use “rip off” as a noun. For example:

I can’t believe I paid $20,000 for this car! What a rip off!

I don’t like eating at that restaurant because they charge way too much. It’s such a rip off!

2. for a piece of entertainment to steal an idea from something which has already been done. For example:

Everyone thought the restaurant scene in that movie was so original, but they ripped it off from an old French movie.

That scene was ripped off from an old French movie. (passive voice)

I don’t like the author, Peter Hines. He always rips his ideas off from other writers.

A: That new song by Janet Peters is totally ripping off an old song from Madonna.

B: I don’t think she’s ripping off that song. I think she’s making a tribute to it.

For this meaning, we can also use “rip off” as a noun. For example:

The scene in the restaurant is a rip off from an old French movie.

That song is such a rip off from a Madonna song a few years ago.

So, as you can see from my examples, it’s very common to use this phrasal verb with the passive voice. Please note that we usually use the preposition “from” with the second meaning of “rip off”.

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