I posted the first two parts of my two-word verb list in October 2012 (those starting with letters a to g); and in March 2013 (for the letters h to q). This final installment covers those two-word verbs that start with letters r to w. As I pointed out in those articles, the two-word “verb phrase” is a common type of English verb usage that, in writing or speaking, can sometimes be confusing. These verb phrases are idiomatic expressions that usually cannot be understood literally when used separately, and need to be combined with an “object” to make sense.
For example, on its own, the expression “bring up” is confusing and conjures up all sorts of possible meanings. However, in normal usage it means “to raise a point, issue, or subject”, or it can also mean to “get sick to one’s stomach”. It all depends on the specific context in which the expression is used.
Below are some common two-word verb phrases (starting with letters r to w), with examples:
run across (something or someone)
After that, I plan to run across the field as fast as I can.
If you run across anything suspicious during your audit, make note of it.
run into (something or someone)
Be careful that you don’t run into another car.
If you run into Nigel during your visit, please let me know.
run out (of something)
At this rate we will run out of water soon.
see (someone) off
We’re going to the train station to see Marilyn off.
shut (something) off
They normally shut the electricity off during a fire emergency.
speak to (someone)
While there, I plan to speak to Ali about the business taxation situation.
Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself.
“Speak up now or forever hold your peace”. (“common expression”)
stay away (from something or someone)
If you want to maintain your weight you should stay away from junk food.
Make sure you stay away from that guy.
If you want to see the comet pass you will have to stay up late.
I wish these socks would stay up.
take care of (something or someone)
After the trade show we will take care of the deficit situation.
I hired her to take care of my sick mother.
That flight is scheduled to take off at noon.
If you feel too hot, take off your coat.
take (something) off
Take your coat off if you get too hot.
take (someone) out
I plan to take Angela out to the concert.
take (something) over
He plans to take that company over.
think (something) over
I’ll think the whole issue over and then get back to you.
throw (something) away
After the party we plan to throw the decorations away.
Be careful not “to throw your whole life away”. (“common expression”)
throw (something) out
Be sure to throw the garbage out before it starts to smell.
We don’t want “to throw the baby out with the bathwater”. (“common expression”)
try (something) on
Before deciding, please try the sweater on.
I think I’ll “try this one on for size”. (“common expression”)
try (something) out
Before deciding on that one, make sure you try the navigation system out first.
turn (something) down
I plan to turn that offer down.
In the evening the maid service usually turns the bed covers down.
turn (something) on
Please turn the light on.
There was a very good turn out at the parade.
You never know who might turn up at that meeting.
I trust they will wake up to that fact eventually.
You will definitely wake up to the sound of that construction project.
They should “wake up and smell the coffee”. (“common expression”)
wake (someone) up
Will you please wake Randall up for breakfast.
Eventually, the treads on those tires will wear out.
wrap (something) up
Please wrap the gift up for Jaclyn.
After this presentation we will wrap the meeting up.
write (something, someone) up
He intends to write something up on that subject.
The police officer is going to write Jackson up for a speeding violation.
So, the above are some of the more common two-word verb phrases that begin with the letters – r through w. Notice that I have highlighted common idiomatic expressions “within quotations”.
Again, the two previous such lists can be found as the posts in this blog for October 2012 and March 2013.
In general terms:
Two-word intransitive verbs do not take direct objects. [Example: I help out whenever I can.]
Two-word transitive verbs with direct objects can have particles that are separable or inseparable. [Examples: Veronica put back the plans. Or, Veronica put the plans back.]
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