Archive for August 15, 2011

separable phrasal verb: put out


Today, I’d like to go over the phrasal verb “put out”. It has several meanings in English, so I’ll go over them for you now:

1. to extinguish something (usually a fire or a cigarette). For example:

Please put out the campfire before you go to bed. We don’t want to cause a forest fire.

The campfire has to be put out before you go to bed. (passive voice)

I told the man that his cigarette was bothering me, but he refused to put it out.

2. to publish something (usually a magazine or newspaper). For example:

This publisher is putting out a brand new magazine for women. They think it will be very popular.

A brand new magazine for women is being put out by this publisher. (passive voice)

The billionaire puts out several newspapers all over the country.

3. to cause an inconvenience for someone. For example:

My colleague was late for our appointment, so he really put me out.

My co-worker forgot to bring the materials for the presentation, so she put out the whole group.

4. to annoy someone. For example:

My girlfriend really put me out when she told me she didn’t like the present I gave her.

I was really put out when my girlfriend said she didn’t like the present I gave her. (passive voice)

It really puts me out when I hear people making racist comments!

5. to place something outside (often a pet). For example:

It’s time to go to bed. Can you put the cat out for the night?

The cat needs to be put out for the night. (passive voice)

Tonight we won’t put the dog out because it’s too cold.

6. to make an effort to do something (used with “an effort”). For example:

I notice that you’ve really been putting out an effort to improve sales. I appreciate your hard work.

My son has really been putting out an effort to improve his grades at school. I’m really proud of him!

The first five meanings are separable, but the last meaning is inseparable. With the meanings which are separable, please pay attention to what type of noun or pronoun is used. Some of the meanings talk about things and some of them talk about people.

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