Prepositional verbs & Phrasal Verbs

In English, muchos verbos are followed by prepositions and adverbs. In some cases estas combinaciones are called ‘phrasal verbs’, mientras in other cases they are prepositional verbs. What’s the difference? Vamos a verlo together.

What is a prepositional verb?

Un prepositional verb es un verbo seguido por la preposition. El significado of  these two words together is usually muy similar to the original meaning of the verb. For example,

To worry

To worry about (someone or something)

Comparar un prepositional verb a un phrasal verb

While the meaning of a phrasal verb is often different to the original meaning of the main verb, el significado de un prepositional verb es normalmente the same as the main verb. Phrasal verbs also use adverbs as well as prepositions, mientras prepositional verbs do not.

Phrasal verbs are also often separados por nouns and pronouns. For example,

Put your dress on.

Put it on.

Las prepositional verbs no se pueden separar. The two words must remain together. ¡Son inseparables!

What are algunos common prepositional verbs?

Hay some prepositional verbs que usamos very often, so it’s useful intentar to remember them. Here they are with their meanings and an example:


agree with                   “I agree with you 200%.”

approve of               “Mario´s parents didn’t approve of him leaving university.”

believe in                   “She’s 18 years old but he still believes in Santa Claus.”

care for                    “She loves me a lot. She cares for me.”

consist of                       “What does your course consist of?”

decide on                       “We need to decide on our Andorra trip for this winter.”

depend on                       “We’re not sure if we’ll go out. It depends on the weather.”

deal with                        “Raul has several problems to deal with.”

get on                          “Get on! The bus is about to leave!”

get off                          “We arrived at the station and got off the train.”

get in                           “She got in the Uber and it drove off.”

get out of                        “Paul got out of his car and opened the gate.”

insist on                         “They insist on meeting us tomorrow.”

laugh at                        “Are you laughing at us?”

listen to                         “I love listening to Bad Bunny.”

look after                       “Our babysitter looks after our kids after school.”

look at                          “Look at this picture she posted on Instagram. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

look for                         “Lilly is looking for a part-time job.”

pay for                          “My girlfriend paid for the meal and left a tip.”

specialize in                     “Noelia is specializing in international business.”

think about    “It’s a great deal. Think about it and let me know your decision.”

wait for                         “Wait for me! I’m coming.”

work for                         “Who do you work for?”

Prepositional verbs with an object

Hay pocos prepositional verbs que tienen an object which can be put between the verb and the preposition. For example,

Remind + object + of

You remind me of my ex-girlfriend.

Provide + object + with

They provided us with the resources we needed.

Thank + object + for

I’d like to thank you for coming to this event.

Prepositional verbs son muy useful to know because using the right preposition después de un verb makes you sound very fluent. So when you learn new verbs, pay attention si necesitan to be followed by a particular preposition. As you can see from the ejemplos que hay arriba, the meaning often changes según la preposition you use.

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