Which is correct - "look up words in the dictionary" or "look words up in the dictionary"?


I teach a special ed. reading program.  I think one of the exercises in the workbook is wrong.  We are working with phrasal verbs - look up, throw away, turn over, etc.  The sentences in the exercise have the two parts separated. An example is: "Throw the trash out."  I think it should be "Throw out the trash."  Which is correct or does it matter?

asked Apr 25 '13 at 15:11 barrand New member

1 answer


Dear Barrand,


As far as I know, many phrasal verbs do appear separated in a sentence whereas others appear with both parts together.


For example:

sort out
The student had to sort this question out for himself. (right)

# The student had to sort out this question for himself (less used)

You usually sort something out as opposed to sort out something.


throw out

I would say "I'm going to throw out the trash" but if someone asked me if I had already done it I would answer "Sure, I already throw it out".


I would suggest "looking up" (hehe, another one) scholarly articles on Google Scholar. The answer is probably more complicated that just saying "bunch them up together" or "always separate the two"...


Hope this helps...



link comment answered Apr 13 at 07:02 Nadav Nesher New member

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