Inseparable phrasal verbs with pronouns

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Superali, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. Superali Senior Member

    I have some doubts about phrasal verbs and object pronouns.
    With a verb such as LOOK AFTER, which is inseparable (isn't it?), can you say" I will look them after", or the only possibility is" I will look after them", even if the object is a pronoun.
    I had the idea that most transitive phrasal verbs allow to place the object in between or after the particle if it is a noun, but when it is a pronoun it must be placed bewtween verb and particle. Therefore, in the case or LOOK AFTER, for example, is that possible?
    As usual, thanks in advance for your help.
  2. yachica Senior Member

    I am not very good at explaining why, but the correct way of saying this is 'I will look after them' then other one doesn't make sense.

    Jo :)
  3. Menocchia Member

    Hi! I am not sure either. I was trying to compare two phrasal verbs, one that allows pronouns in between (such as look up) and another one that doesn't (look after).

    The only thing I can think of is that "after" in this case is working as a preposition, which might be a reason why the object can't go in between.

    "Up" in the phrase look up, on the other hand, is working as an adverb (look it up in the dictionary).

    Does any native speaker think that might have something to do with this? Sorry if I'm making it all up... This is only my intuition.
  4. Cheha Senior Member

    Portland Oregon
    English U.S.A.
    Hi Superali, this is a difficult question even for native speakers! You are correct that look after is inseparable. Some transitive phrasal verbs are separable and you DO have to put a pronoun in between, whereas you can put nouns either between or after. Example:
    He made up the story.
    He made the story up.
    He made it up.
    He made up it. :cross:
    Interestingly enough, when "made up" means to forgive after an argument, it is intransitive, even though it's the same two words! Hang around is inseparable, yet turn around is separable. I think Menocchia has a point about the preposition/adverb thing, although I have never heard that, and I'm not sure if it works with every one. Grow up is not separable, and in this case I think "up" would be an adverb rather than a preposition?? But I wouldn't stake my life on it! I hope this is helpful!
  5. Superali Senior Member

    OK, thanks. It may have to do with the adverb / preposition thing. But, how do you know when a particle works as one or the other?
  6. mhp Senior Member

    American English
    I don't think there is a way to know for sure.

    I'll look it up. (in a dictionary)
    I'll look up it.:cross:
    I'll look it after.:cross:
    I'll look after it.

    The closest analogy I can think of in Spanish is:

    Me puse a llorar.
    Puse a llorarme.:cross:

    In Spanish, it is a lot simpler to explain why one is correct and the other one is not.
  7. dilema

    dilema Senior Member

    Madrid (España)
    Mi intuición en un caso como look after es que la partícula (after) va más dirigida a "modular" el verbo que al objeto sobre el que se aplica la acción. Quiero decir, look after me sugiere la idea de mirar por --> preocuparse por --> cuidar. Pero ahora mismo no sabría decir si es algo que me ha funcionado para todos los verbos inseparables o no.

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