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The following study has been undertaken with a view to the presentation in a fairly detailed and definite manner of a phase of linguistic development which has been the subject of not a little protest and controversy on the part of those who are accustomed to watch with jealous care the use of their mother tongue. Most of the adverse criticism of the verbadverb combination has contented itself with attempting to show either that certain combinations are colloquialisms not yet justified by general usage, or else that in certain cases the adverbial particle is unnecessary or, as one critic has termed it, a parasitical preposition.

I planned at one time to collect and print, in so far as I might be able, all the combinations of verb and prepositional-adverb which I might come across, and under each a list of the meanings of which it might be susceptible. But as my study of the subject has progressed, I have found such a plan impracticable for several reasons. In the first place, one is not dealing with a fixed category of English speech, but with a changing, growing tendency in language which throws up over night, as it were, new combinations, and new meanings, so that an absolute and complete list would be impossible of realization. Moreover, the greatest portion of these combinations has been well illustrated in Webster's New International Dictionary and in The New English Dictionary.. And, finally, if the list were even approximately complete and properly illustrated, it would fill more printed pages than such a study would seem to warrant. So I have had to content myself with gathering, zealously and carefully, as extensive a collection of combinations and meanings as possible, and after a thorogoing examination of the collection, publishing the summaries and conclusions deduced therefrom. I have endeavored to avoid, wherever it might be possible, duplication or repetition, and by so doing I have utilized at one time or another a large part of my material, which comprises over nine hundred different combinations, representing several thousand distinct meanings.

My illustrative matter has been collected from various types of literature. The average college freshman theme, of course, abounds in colloquial combinations of the verb and prepositional-adverb. Such works as 0. Henry's Sixes and Sevens and Chester's Wallingford stories teem with them. The juvenile book of recent coinage and such technical works as the medical or the engineering treatise furnish many illustrations. Any volume of current literature is sure to illustrate this combining tendency in English, and almost any lecture or conversation will likewise supply mate


rial for the study. But most significant of all, perhaps, is the fact that the editors of Webster's Dictionary and of the New English Dictionary have used the verb-adverb combination very freely in defining other words.

I have come somewhat hesitatingly to the point of publishing my study of the combination just because I realize that its meanings and its uses fluctuate so much as yet that it is very hard to give definitions and classifications that will be generally acceptable. Often, indeed, the combination has several meanings, part of good literary standing, part purely colloquial. For example, one can call off names, a dog, or an engagement; get up may mean 'to arise,' 'to organize,' or 'go faster'; make up signifies 'to make ready,' 'to become reconciled,' or 'to prepare for the stage'; put up 'to lay away,' 'to tolerate,' or 'to lodge'; turn out 'to turn aside,' 'to eject,' or 'to appear.' These combinations are capable of such varying shades of meaning that no two persons will show quite the same reactions toward them. Consequently I have made little effort to distinguish slang and colloquialisms, but have offered most of the material gathered trusting that the reader will be able to determine for himself in each case whether the phrase is to be classed as good, literary English or as colloquial or slang. I hope, however, that my study may prove suggestive to the average speaker of English and may even lead some to a more thoughtful use of these combinations.

1 In Webster's Dict., for example, cf. average v. 2 'to close out a transaction,' close v. 1 'to stop, or fill up, as an opening,' blow 6 'to puff up,' bore 2 'to enlarge and true up (a hole),' cage 'to shut up or confine,' chuck 'to throw up, to give up,' dole 2 'to deal out, get at 'to come at’; or in the New English Dict. cf. act 2 'to bring into action, bring about,' air 5a 'to show off, to parade ostentatiously,' back 19 'to back down, to recede downward from a position taken up,' bag. v.14 'to bag up, to put up in a bag; to shut or store up generally.' Not infrequently the editors of the N. E. D. have utilized combinations in writing definitions which they have failed to define or illustrate in their proper places, which seems to show that some of our verb-adverb combinations are more necessary in the expression of ideas than scholars are willing to admit formally.


The New English Dictionary.
C. F. Koch: Historische Grammatik der Englischen Sprache, 2. auf.

3:116-146. 1891. T. O. Harrison: The Separable Prefixes in Anglo-Saxon. Johns Hopkins

diss. 1892. H. Eitrem: Stress in English verb+adverb groups. Englische Studien

32:69-77. 1903. Webster's New International Dictionary. 1909. T. A. Rickard, W. H. Shockley, A. E. Pratt: Standardization of English

in Technical Literature. Excerpt from The Transactions of the

Institution of Mining and Metallurgy for 1909–10. J. Ellinger: Ueber die Betonung der aus Verb+Adverb bestehenden

englisch-Wortgruppen. Progr. der Franz Joseph-Realschule in Wien.

1910. John Kirkpatrick: Handbook of Idiomatic English. Paris, 1912. Geo. O. Curme: The Development of Verbal Compounds in Germanic.

Beitr. z. Gesch. d. deutschen Sprache u. Lit. 39:320–361. 1914.

Early English Literature Cited

Alfred's Bede—T. Miller: The O. E. Version of Bede's Ecclesiastical His

tory. Early Engl. Text Soc. 95–96. 1890. Aelfric's Saints' Lives—W. W. Skeat: Aelfric's Lives of the Saints. Early

Engl. Text Soc. 76. 1881. Ancren Riwle-Maetzner: Altenglische Sprachproben Bd. I, Abt. 2, pp.

1-41. 1869. Bale's Kynge Johan-J. M. Manley: Specimens of the Pre-Shakespearean

Drama 1:525–618. 1897. Ballad of Robin Hood and the Monk—Sargent and Kittredge: English

and Scottish Popular Ballads. pp. 282–286. 1904. Beowulf—W. J. Sedgefield: Beowulf. 2nd. ed. 1913. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales—W. W. Skeat: Works of Geoffrey Chaucer.

Vol. 4. 1894. Conversion of St. Paul-J. M. Manley: Specimens of the Pre-Shakes

pearean Drama 1:215-238. 1897. Dame Sirith—Zupitza-Schipper : Alt- und Mittelenglisches Uebungsbuch.

7. aufl. pp. 131-138. 1904.

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