Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

English Phrasal Verbs

Date Submitted: 09-Feb-2007
From: Kevin Duckworth
Subject: English Phrasal Verbs
Contact Email: click here to access email

Notice: English phrasal verbs have been a headache for hundreds of years.
They have been an obstacle for those who teach or learn the language and
have baffled generations of linguists.

My colleague, José García Bes and myself, Kevin Joseph Duckworth rose to
the challenge.

We have identified a commonality in the particles which go beyond the
probability of coincidence. Within the list of particles there are groups
which share identical qualities and have their own particular word order
structure which other particles do not.

The structural forms are as follows:
Particle object
Object particle
Particle<>object (separable)

The particles which exclusively use the structure “particle object” are:
Against, at, for, from, into, round/around, to, upon, with

These particles we have nominated “noble” since they represent elements of
nobility among the society of the period. The structure “particle object”
as used by these noble particles denotes an implicit reverence or
importance attached to the subject by the particle.

The common denominator of the particles is that they represent characters,
circumstances and events ina medieval theatre of war. The original
significances have changed and evolved over a period of some 700 years and
likewise the reverential aspect of the object placement has almost disappeared.

We hypothesis that English phrasal verbs developed from a solution to a
communication problem that was highlighted by the hundred Year’s War.
For the firsrt time in it history, England invaded France with an
expeditionary force that was comprised of groups of soldiers that had been
arrayed from all quarters of the land. These groups were united in a common
cause, but were divided by their own local dialects of which there were many.
Some particles are used as accompanying particles, as in “to come across
with something”.

When there are two particles in the phrase, each one retains its own
significance and both interact to give a larger picture of what is going on.

Across, represents the no-mans-land between a sronghold under siege and the
attacking army.

With, represents the hereditory noble and his garrisons, wealth and power.

To come across with something, to provide something needed urgently at the
necessary time Oxford Advanced learner’s Dictionary
Here we can see that a noble has provided assistance to those being
besieged and in a timely fashion.

Since my colleague has had to retire from the venture due to ill health, I
am seeking the assistance of someone who is not scared to push the boat
out. There have been some linguists who have derided our findings as pure
invention and risible to boot.

For anyone interested in collaborating in this project, or seeking further
information on particles or structure, please contact me at