tell somebody off// tell off somebody

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Senior Member
Which of this sentences is correct??
She told off Anna for breaking the vase
She told Anna off for breaking the vase
Or both of them are right??
And how can I distinguish which phrasal verbs can be separated and which not?? Phrasal verbs drive me crazy!!:mad:

PS:please correct any mistake!! Thanks!!:D
  • jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Sorry for your confusion with those darned things. I would have to look at each verb to see if they all act the same way. For now I'll stick to your question about telling someone off.

    He told Anna off for breaking the vase.

    Normally, I think it is safe to say that the object directly follows the verb, then the preposition:

    He told her off.
    He picked her up.
    She threw him down.

    This is a start, at least. I'm sure there are lots of threads about phrasal verbs floating around somewhere!
    No ves por vencido...! (algo así)


    When the phrasal verb is transitive (i. e. it has a direct object), we can separate the two parts.

    "She told Anna off for breaking the vase" :tick:
    "She told off Anna for breaking the vase" :tick:

    If the direct object is a pronoun, we must separate the phrasal verb and insert the pronoun between the two parts.

    "She told her off for breaking the vase" :tick:
    "She told off her for breaking the vase" :cross:

    Hope it helps, and if I'm wrong let me know.
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