Phrasal verbs 4

Previous: Phrasal verbs 3

Understanding what phrasal verbs mean

When you use phrasal verbs in Polish, the prefix you add to the verb often has a similar meaning and changes the verb in the same, or a similar, way.

The same thing is often true with English phrasal verbs and it can then be quite easy to understand what the phrasal verb means.

go (walk) – chodzić
go outwychodzić
go awayodchodzić

go (drive) – jeździć
go outwyjeżdżać
go awayodjeżdżać

This can even be true when more particles are added to the verb to make the meaning more specific.

go out with (somebody) – wychodzić z (kimś)

Sometimes the translation isn’t exactly the same, but you can probably still guess the meaning.

run away (dosłownie – biec od/z) translates as uciec
run away with (somebody) – uciec z (kimś)
run away from – odbiegnąć

take away (dosłownie – wziąć od) translates as odjąć

However, sometimes it isn’t easy, or can even be impossible, to guess the meaning of a phrasal verb. This is also the same in Polish.

take after (somebody) (dosłownie – wziąć po) actually translates as być podobnym do (kogoś)

How does baczyć plus ‚away’ become wybaczyć, the meanings are completely different.

With those phrasal verbs where the meaning isn’t obvious, you will simply have to learn the verb and its meaning.

One reason why phrasal verbs can have so many different meanings is that the meanings can be literal (dosłowny) or metaphoric (metaforyczny). This is also the same in Polish.

The dog dug up a bone. – Pies wygrzebał kość. (literal)

I finally dug up the truth. – W końcu, dokopałem się prawdy. (metaphoric)

Phrasal verbs can also have a different meaning depending on whether the object is a thing or a person. Sometimes you can see that the different meanings are quite similar, even if you need yet another verb for the Polish translation.

take something out (dosłownie – wziąć na zewnątrz) translates as wyjąć coś

take somebody out translates as zabrać kogoś or wyjść z kimś

Sometimes the change in meanings can be a little more abstract, but you might still understand how the verb got this meaning.

take something out wyjąć coś

take somebody out – can mean zabrać kogoś but it can also mean zabić or zlikwidować kogoś

If we can use the phrasal verb take out to mean zabić, then why can’t we use it in a similar way for things as well, to mean destroy?

take something out zniszczyć coś

A lot of people ask why phrasal verbs have so many meanings, but this is really just because Polish has so many different ‚phrasal’ verbs to describe even quite small differences in meaning.

From an English point of view I would ask why Polish makes you learn so many verbs when you could use only a few!

Phrasal verbs 3

Previous: Phrasal verbs 2

You saw in phrasal verbs 2 that intransitive and transitive non-separable phrasal verbs are used in exactly the same way as normal verbs. The verb and particle, or particles, stay together in one group and other information goes after the verb and particle or particles.

Can I sit down here? – Czy mogę tutaj usiąść?

I ran after the bus. – Biegłam za autobusem.

The situation for separable phrasal verbs is a little more complicated.

Separable phrasal verbs will normally be shown in a dictionary in the following way;

take out something or take something out – wyjąć coś

You can see that there are now two different possibilities.

In the first possibility, you can use a separable phrasal verb in exactly the same way as other phrasal verbs. The verb and the particle, or particles, stay together in one group and other information goes after the group.

Please take out all metal objects from your pockets. – Proszę wyjąć z kieszeni wszystkie metalowe przedmioty.

However, there is a second option; the object can go BETWEEN the verb and the particle.

Please take all metal objects out from your pockets. – Proszę wyjąć z kieszeni wszystkie metalowe przedmioty.

The meaning is exactly the same in both sentences. This is simply a different way of writing the sentence and it isn’t important which option you choose.

However, there is one important thing to remember – you ONLY have this choice if the object is a NOUN (rzeczownik).

If the object of the verb is a PRONOUN (zaimek – mnie, mi, ciebie, tobie, etc.) then the pronoun MUST go BETWEEN the verb and the particle.

For example, in the sentence above we could use them (pronoun – ich) instead of all metal objects (rzeczownik – wszystkie metalowe przedmioty).

In this situation, the pronoun MUST go BETWEEN the verb and the particle, it cannot go after the verb and particle.

Please take them out from your pockets. – Okay

Please take out them from your pockets.This is wrong!

Although this sounds complicated, you only really have to remember one thing.

You can always keep the verb and the particle, or particles, together in one group and put the object after this group UNLESS the object is a pronoun and the phrasal verb is a transitive separable phasal verb.

To summarize the different types of phrasal verb:

intransitive – NO object

Can I sit down here?

transitive non-separable – object ALWAYS after the group

I ran after the thief.

I ran after him.

transitive separable

Please take all metal objects out from your pockets. – noun

Please take out all metal objects from your pockets.  – noun

Please take them out from your pockets. – pronoun

Please take out them from your pockets.pronounwrong

Next: Phrasal verbs 4

Phrasal verbs 2

Previous: Phrasal verbs 1

Phrasal verbs, like all verbs in English and Polish, can be divided into intransitive (nieprzechodni) and transitive (przechodni). In a dictionary intransitive verbs are often shown by the letters vi (verb intransitive) and transitive verbs are often shown by the letters vt (verb transitive)

Intransitive verbs, such as posiedzieć, don’t need an object (kogo? co?/komu? czemu?);

I like to sit and watch TV. – Lubię sobie posiedzieć i pooglądać telewizję.

Transitive verbs, such as lubić or ufać, do need an object;

Does Piotr like Agnieszka? – Czy Piotr lubi Agnieszkę?

Does Piotr trust Agnieszka? – Czy Piotr ufa Agnieszce?

Intransitive phrasal verbs

Intransitive phrasal verbs are used in exactly the same way as a normal verb. The verb and any particles always stay together in one group and other information goes after this group.

Can I sit down? – Czy mogę usiąść?

Can I sit down here? – Czy mogę tutaj usiąść?

Transitive phrasal verbs

Transitive phrasal verbs are divided into two different types;

non-separable (nierozłączny)
separable (rozłączny)

Knowing whether a phrasal verb is separable or non-separable is important because it tells us where we can put the object when we use the verb.

There are no rules to tell you which phrasal verbs are non-separable and which are separable. You will have to look in a good English dictionary e.g. Macmillan Dictionary, to find out.

Transitive non-separable phrasal verbs

Transitive non-separable phrasal verbs will normally be shown in a dictionary in the following way;

run after someone/something – gonić kogoś or biegać za kimś/czymś

This tells you that the object can be a person or a thing and that the object MUST come AFTER the phrasal verb. You should be aware that the meaning of the phrasal verb can sometimes be different depending on whether the object is a person or a thing.

run after someone/something – gonić kogoś or biegać za czymś

I ran after the thief. – Goniłem złodzieja.
I ran after the bus. – Biegłam za autobusem.

Although I said there are no rules to tell you if a phrasal verb is non-separable or separable there is one exception: a phrasal verb with more than one particle is ALWAYS non-separable.

run away with someone – uciec z kimś

I ran away with my girlfriend to America. – Uciekłem do Ameryki z dziewczyną.

You can see that both intransitive and transitive non-separable phrasal verbs are used in exactly the same way that you would use a normal verb. The verb and any particles always stay together in one group. Other information, or the object of the verb if the verb is transitive, go after this group.

intransitive

Can I sit down? – Czy mogę usiąść?

Can I sit down here? – Czy mogę tutaj usiąść?

Come and sit down next to me. – Chodź i usiądź obok mnie.

transitive – non-separable

I ran after the bus. – Biegłam za autobusem.

I ran after the thief. – Goniłem złodzieja.

I ran away with my girlfriend to America. – Uciekłem do Ameryki z dziewczyną.

Next: Phrasal verbs 3