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Separable Inseparable Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are separated into two groups: Separable and Inseparable Phrasal Verbs

Separable Phrasal Verbs

Separable phrasal verbs can remain together when using an object that is a noun or noun phrase.


He paid back the debt. OR He paid the debt back.
The company laid out quite a bit for research. OR The company laid quite a bit out for research.

Separable phrasal verbs MUST be separated when a pronoun is used:


We ran it up by $50,000.
They bailed him out of the situation.
Frank paid it all back by the end of the month.

Inseparable Phrasal Verbs

Inseparable phrasal verbs always remain together. It makes no difference if a noun or pronoun is used.


He scraped by on only $800 a month for two years. NOT He scraped it by for two years.
They splashed out on new office furniture. NOT They splashed it out.


All phrasal verbs containing more than one particle are inseparable.


I've put up with the situation for more than two years.


If you are not sure whether a phrasal verb is separable or inseparable, ALWAYS use a noun or nouns phrase and DO NOT separate. In this manner, you will always be correct!

Separable Phrasal Verbs Related to Money

Each phrasal verb is grouped into a category and marked S for separable or I for inseparable. Notice that most of the phrasal verbs are separable and used in informal situations.

The following phrasal verbs are related to spending money. They are all rather informal and shouldn't be used in formal documents.

to lay out - S
to splash out - I
to run up - S
to fork out - S
to shell out - S
to cough up - S

Paying Debts

These phrasal verbs are related to paying debts and can be used in more formal communications, as well as in informal situations.

to pay back - S
to pay off - S

Saving Money

These phrasal verbs are related to saving money and tend to be used in informal situations.

to save up - S
to put aside - S

Using Saved Money

The phrasal verbs are related to spending money that has been saved and are used in informal situations.

to dip into - I
to break into - I

Helping Someone with Money

The phrasal verbs are related to helping someone with money and are used in informal situations.

to bail out - S
tide over - S

By Kenneth Beare, Guide