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Is the following explanation enough to find out the difference between a preposition and adverb used in a phrasal verb.. If not, then please can you give another alternative.

Many of the words in the preposition list can also be used as adverbs. The problem for you is to figure out when a word from the list is being used as an adverb or as a preposition. When in doubt, ask the questions whom or what after the word. If there is a noun or a pronoun to answer the question, then the word is a preposition with an object--a prepositional phrase. If there is not a noun or pronoun to answer whom or what, then the word you are worried about is an adverb.

Example: The girl looked over and then ran down the street.

Both the words "over" and "down" are on the preposition list. Say the word "over" and add "over what?" There is no what or whom word after "over." Now say "down what?" -- "down the street." There is a noun "street" which tells what after the word "down." Therefore, "down" must be a preposition with the prepositional phrase being "down the street."


These rules work for all those sentences that contains a preposition. See the following sentence;

Here (in the 1st sentence) on is a preposition and answers the question what.
1. I hadn't reckoned on being the center of attention. ( on what? on being the center of attention.)
We abided by the rules.
He accounted for the discrepancy.
They asked for an extension.
We are banking on good weather tomorrow.
Please bear with the delay.

But they doesn't work for this one;

Here on is not a preposition but an adverb and still answers the question what.
2. He kept on changing the subject. (on what? on changing the subject.)

GB
Comments  
The what rule does work. GB's examples do not have a NOUN or PRONOUN to answer the question. "Being" and "changing" are not objects.
I think the verb of that sentence is "kept on changing" altogether and "the subject" is the direct object of the sentence (which answers the question: what did he keep on changing? --- the subject)

Can anyone tell me if I'm right?? I'm not a native speaker, just a learner and struggling with this Emotion: smile
Thank you!
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Emotion: phew very,very confusing but I will read it over and learn.

~GG

hey guys,

don't get confused... it's a piece of cake...in the sentence" He kept on changing the subject" ON here is used as a preposition NOT AS AN ADVERB...
ON USED AS AN ADVERB MEANS "STH. CONTINUES TO HAPPEN" EXAMPLE: THE DREAM LIVES ON.
THUS, YOUR "WHAT THING ROCKS".

HOWEVER, YOU COULD ALSO SAY SUCH VERB COMBOS (ABIDE BY, ACCOUNT FOR, ASK FOR ETC...) BELONG TO THE CATEGORY OF VERBS FOLLOWED BY A PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE.

MORE EXAMPLES:

I LISTEN TO BALLADS ONLY.
THEY ALWAYS REFER TO THE MANUAL.
THIS WAY LEADS TO THE NEAREST EXIT.
CAN YOU HINT AT THE ANSWER?
I CAN RELATE TO YOUR SITUATION.

GOD BLESS YOU!
its simple
after an adverb there is no object and there is a object after prepositionEmotion: geeked
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There is no simple answer to this. Dictionaries and grammars do not agree on the categories in which many many of these multi-word verbs should be placed. Some feel the the whole adverb/preposition distinction is artificial, and prefer to use the word 'particle' for the non-verb word in multi-word verbs.

The first question is, "Are we dealing with a multi-word verb?"

In "She ran down the street", there seems to me to be little reason to consider that we are dealing with anything but a verb and a preposition. 'Ran' could be replaced by 'walked', 'rushed', and many other verbs without changing the basic structure, and 'down' could be replaced by 'up', 'along' and several other prepositions. The same can be said of '"She looked over his shoulder".

With expressions such as "She got up and looked around", you can call the words in red 'adverbs' or 'particles' or even 'little words', but you cannot call them prepositions - they do not have a noun as an object. I would not call these phrasal verbs, but some do.

With "She looked up the chimney", It seems pretty clear that we have a verb followed by a preposition.
With "She looked up the word (in a dictionary)" it appears that we have a preposition. However, we can change the position of up: "She looked the word up". We can't do that with a preposition: "She looked the chimney up". It would seem to me to be straining things rather to say that 'up' is a preposition in "She looked up the word" and an adverb in "She looked the word up". Here, I think, there is a good case for thinking of 'up' as a particle, part of the phrasal verb (multi-word verb) 'look up'.

With "She abided by the rules" It is not so easy to 'prove' that ''by' is a preposition. There are very few other verbs that could replace 'abided' before 'by', and I can think of no other prepositions that could replace 'by' here. However, 'by' is followed by a noun, and we cannot have "She abided the rules by". So, it is fairly clear, I think, that we have a verb followed by a preposition; 'abide' collocates strongly with 'by'. I see no advantage in thinking of this as a phrasal verb, though some do.
thanks, u have explained it well Emotion: smile

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