Types of Phrasal Verbs- Transitive, Intransitive, Separable, Non-Separable

By Shivam

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Hey there everyone,

How are you all doing?

Today I want to share with you how phrasal verbs can help you improve your English vocabulary and how you can easily learn them.

Here’s an example: ” I don’t like if someone cuts in while I talk”.

In the sentence above, phrasal verb ‘cut in’ means to interrupt in between. Phrasal verbs are undoubtedly one of the most crucial parts of our daily conversation. Hence, I thought why not shed some light on their types and what they are.

So before we jump to their types, let’s see in brief.

What is a Phrasal verb?

A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and another word or two, usually a preposition or an adverb. They are very important in English as they help you sound more natural when you speak or when you write.

Natives usually don’t find it hard to understand them (of course, because it’s what they have been listening to since birth), but when it comes to a non-native, it is definitely not a piece of cake to understand and use in their spoken English, especially if you are a beginner.


Some say there are two types of phrasal verbs, while others four. It has always been a topic of discussion and different English teacher explain it depending on the sources they learned from. I don’t say books or sources they learned from were wrong. I went through many of the English books, blogs, and resources and found a different answer at every place which can make a learner even more confused with the concepts and types.

So without beating around the bush, let’s see their types and what they are.

Phrasal verbs are basically of two types :

Intransitive phrasal verbs

Intransitive phrasal verbs are the phrasal verb that does not require a direct object.

Hurry up!
• Robert dropped by at my place yesterday.
• I didn’t do that good; I am just expecting to get through.

Many of you will comment that the second example is wrong because you see an object in the sentence. So before you all do that, let me explain what direct object means.

“A direct object is the group of words that is acted upon by the verb. And as you can see, in the second sentence “at my place yesterday” is not acted upon directly by the verb ‘drop’, so the sentence doesn’t have any direct object and the phrasal verb is intransitive.”

Transitive phrasal verbs

Transitive phrasal verbs are the phrasal verbs that have a direct object.

• I am going to throw these biscuits away because they have expired far before.
• My boss turned down my leave for my brother’s marriage.
• My mother came across my lost earphones while cleaning the house.

Transitive phrasal verbs are of two types:
Separable phrasal verbs- The phrasal verbs in which you can put a direct object in between and separate them, hence they are called separable phrasal verbs.

Examples of separable phrasal verbs
• You can’t even do the initial steps properly; you need to do it over.
• He doesn’t want to let his mother down by failing this time.

Inseparable phrasal verbs- The phrasal verbs in which you cannot put a direct object in between and separate them are called inseparable phrasal verbs.

Example of inseparable phrasal verbs
• I ran into one of my old colleagues yesterday on a bus. (CORRECT)
• I ran one of my old colleagues into yesterday on a bus. (WRONG)
• He can easily get the role as the lead artist in his brother’s absence; both brothers take after their father almost 100%. (CORRECT)
• He can easily get the role as the lead artist in his brother’s absence; both brothers take their father after almost 100%. (WRONG)

So that is it for today.

I hope you have a clear understanding of their types and the difference between them.

You can find here more articles and examples of phrasal verbs.

See you soon with some new topic and vocabulary.

Till then keep learning and improving.

Take care and?


P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System
  • Rahul chatterjee

    I don’t know which transitive verb is separable phrasal verb and which transitive verb is inseparable phrasal verb