"Using Phrasal Verbs and Idioms Appropriately"

Consider the differences in formality and sentence structure of the following:

The committee decided to review the documents prior to the meeting.
The committee decided to look over the documents before the meeting.
The committee decided to go over the documents before the meeting.
The committee decided to look them over.
The committee decided to go over them.

Consider whether these sentences are correct:

The committee decided to look the documents over.
The committee decided to go the documents over.
The committee decided to look over them.
The committee decided to go them over.

Confused? Overwhelmed? Undoubtedly, you have already encountered the dastardly English phrasal verb! Phrasal verbs are widely used in informal and even formal business writing, and it is critical to recognize when you encounter one of these verb forms, what to do to understand it, and how to use them so that your business writing more closely approximates “native-like” form. So, the next time a committee chairperson tables a discussion so that members can first sit on a matter, you won’t conjure images of furniture!

At the conclusion of this workshop, participants should be able to:

  • Appreciate differences in formality between phrasal verbs and their non-phrasal synonyms and the appropriate contexts for their use
  • Recognize phrasal verbs and use strategies to determine their meaning
  • Understand different syntactic patterns for phrasal verbs, objects, and object pronouns