PoLoop Angielski

Episode 23. Stress in Two-part Phrasal Verbs

January 22, 2023 Jacek Olender Season 1 Episode 23
PoLoop Angielski
Episode 23. Stress in Two-part Phrasal Verbs
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode you will learn about three kinds of two-part Phrasal Verbs (transitive, separable PVs, transitive, inseparable PVs, and intransitive PVs), and how the type influences the position of stress in the phrase.

You will also hear examples of many Phrasal Verbs connected with business meetings.

You can download the complete transcript of this episode here.

Transitive, separable Phrasal Verbs used in the examples: 

  • set sth up: organise and plan something
  • bring sth forward: change the date or time of an event so it happens earlier
  • call sth off: cancel something
  • put sth off: change the date or time of an event so it happens later
  • wind sth up: end something

Transitive, inseparable Phrasal Verbs used in the examples: 

  • go over sth: check something carefully
  • do without sth: succeed without something
  • touch on sth: mention something when are talking or writing
  • go for sth: choose something
  • bear on sth: be connected with something or influence something

Intransitive Phrasal Verbs used in the examples: 

  • break down: stop working
  • doze off: fall asleep especially during the day without intending to do so
  • go ahead: start or continue to do something, especially after waiting for permission
  • go around: be enough for everybody
  • drop in: make a short visit somewhere

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Hello, I'm Jacek Olender, and this is PoLoop Angielski Podcast. For more materials for learners of English, and the transcript of this episode, go to my website poloopangielski.pl.

 Okay, guys, what does it mean when something is stressed? It means that a word in a sentence, or a syllable in a word is pronounced differently, a bit longer, a bit louder, and with a slightly higher pitch. Learning the right stress is highly beneficial. For starters, you are more easily understood, it's also easier for you to understand others. But there might be another advantage that we don't immediately associate with stress. Learning the stress helps us remember vocabulary. This is due to the way language is encoded in our brains. Language is basically a pattern of sounds - sounds which have meanings. If you try to learn the words in your head, never opening your mouth, especially when you focus on spelling, you might pass the vocabulary test in school the following day, but you will probably never remember and use these words in real life. So if we agree that saying a new word or a phrase is necessary in order to remember them, the next question is how to say them. And here we come to the correct pronunciation of individual phonemes, sounds, but also the stress pattern. Would you agree with me that it is easier to remember the lyrics of the song if you remember its tune? The same is true about vocabulary, it's easier to remember a new word or phrase if you learn the right melody of this word or phrase and the melody of the sentence in which that word or phrase is used. And this melody of a sentence depends, to a large extent, on what is stressed and what is not stressed in the word, phrase or a sentence.

So today, I'd like to talk a bit about what gets stressed in phrasal verbs. And as always, we will have an opportunity to get to know a few of them. Generally, how a phrasal verb is stressed depends on what type of a phrasal verb it is. So, listen to five sets of simple sentences. Each of the three sentences in each set means the same thing. 'I set up a meeting. I set a meeting up. I set it up.' Set two. 'I brought forward the meeting. I brought the meeting forward. I brought it forward.' Set three. 'I called off the meeting, I called the meeting off, I called it off.' Set four. 'I put off the meeting, I put the meeting off, I put it off.' And the final fifth set. 'I wound up the meeting, I wound the meeting up, I wound it up.' Alright, so what do all these sentences have in common? The object of all these sentences is the word 'meeting', the phrase 'a meeting' or 'the meeting'. Did you notice where the word appeared in the sentence? In the first sentence of each set, it was after the phrasal verb. 'I set up a meeting. I brought forward the meeting. I called off the meeting, I put off the meeting, I wound up the meeting.' In the second sentence in each set, however, the word 'meeting' goes in the middle of the phrasal verb, separating its parts like a rude person who doesn't wait for its turn but pushes its way into the middle of the phrasal verb. 'I set a meeting up I brought the meeting forward, I called the meeting off, I put the meeting off, I wound the meeting up.' And what about the third sentence in each set? 'I set it up, I brought it forward, I called it off, I put it off, I wound it up.' In these sentences, we swapped the word meeting for the pronoun 'it'. And 'it' also pushes in, and separates the elements of the phrasal verb. But you know what? I don't think we should be so critical about 'it' for doing so. I guess we should try to show a little bit more sympathy and understanding in this case because 'it', unlike the noun 'meeting', is a pronoun, and it has no choice but to go into the middle. You're still not sure. Let's check. 'I set up it. I brought up it. I called up it.' No! I'm sure you can hear those sentences don't sound right. 'It' has to cut in and separate the phrasal verb. So the noun phrase 'a meeting' was able to go after the phrasal verb and in the middle of the phrasal verb. 'It' can't. And so we discovered one important rule about separable phrasal verbs - verbs in which an object can go into the middle of the phrasal verb. 'It' and all other object pronouns, such as you, her, him, us, them, can only go into the middle of the phrasal verb and never after it. So we can draw up a contract, draw a contract up, draw it up, but not draw up it. We can jot down notes during the meeting, we can jot notes down, we can jot them down, but not jot down them. Now, let's come back to the issue of stress. In separable phrasal verbs, the ones that we looked at, the stress comes always on the particle, this little word which is the second part of the phrasal verb, regardless of the position of the object, if it's in the middle, or after the phrasal verb, the particle is always stressed. ,I set UP a meeting and I set the meeting UP. I called OFF the meeting and I called the meeting OFF, I put OFF the meeting and I put the meeting OFF, I wound UP the meeting and I wound the meeting UP'.

Now, we also have phrasal verbs which are not that kind to objects and they don't like the elements to be separated. The object then must wait, and take its place after both elements of the phrasal verbs. For example, 'Why don't we go over this at the status meeting? I think we can do without a coffee break. Let me touch on another issue now. I reckon we should go for a different solution this time. These are factors that bear on the final decision.' So, 'go over something', 'do without something', 'touch on something', 'go for something', 'bear on something' are examples of inseparable phrasal verbs, and in inseparable phrasal verbs, it's not the particle that is stressed, not 'over, without, on, for, but the verbs: 'go, do, touch, bear'. 'I set the meeting UP so we can GO over this case together. We can't DO without the agenda, so I put the meeting OFF.

Finally, there are also phrasal verbs that don't have any object. They are called intransitive phrasal verbs. 'The microphone has broken DOWN. I dozed OFF at the meeting. Please go aHEAD. I think we've got enough copies to go aROUND. Thank you for dropping IN.' As you heard, there are no objects. There're no object after this phrasal verb or in the middle of the phrasal verb because they are inseparable [should be: intransitive] phrasal verbs. They don't take objects. And as you heard the stress goes on the particle again, just like in the case of separable phrasal verbs. 

So, to sum up, there is only one type of phrasal verbs in which it is natural to stress the verb. They are inseparable phrasal verbs - those who have an object that must come always after the particle, after the phrasal verb. But what about the three-part phrasal verbs, the ones we talked about in episode 17? What do we stress in them? Well, we'll talk about them next week. Until then, take care. Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

The importance of paying attention to stress
Stress in transitive separable Phrasal Verbs
Stress in transitive inseparable Phrasal Verbs
Stress in intransitive Phrasal Verbs