In Grammar By Maria

The formation of nouns from the phrasal verbs: breakout or outbreak?

Every day, sometimes even unconsciously, we use English words in Russian. They are related to different spheres of life. For example, the Internet: «I zachekinilsya (check-in) in this place,» or «zaloginlisya (log-in) in this profile,» or «I do not use Autluk (Outlook), it is not convenient.» Or, in everyday life we can hear that the teenager involved in street workout (workout), and the girl bought a pushap (push-up). These words are often just flies off the tongue, and sometimes it is not clear where they were taken.

  • In the article «Phrasal verbs in English,» We talked in detail about this interesting phenomenon grammar.

Let’s look together. All words, which are listed above are derived from verbs and prepositions supplemented. That is, they are formed by a part of speech of English as a phrasal verb (phrasal verb). From phrasal verbs we can form a variety of nouns and adjectives.

Today we will focus in more detail on the nouns. Let’s look at the basic rules of the formation of such nouns.

Driving Regulation Example
Verb + preposition The noun can be derived from the phrasal verb by the preposition rendered forward. Underpass — underpass
Intake — consumption
Preposition + verb The noun can be derived from the phrasal verb, if you add an excuse as the second part of the word. Sometimes the noun will be written as one word, sometimes hyphenated. Also, to form the plural will be added to the preposition ending s. Setback — failure or delay
Break-in — a breakthrough, illegal entry
Break-ins — trespassing
Verb + ing + preposition Use the ending — ing the verb Opening-up — opening
Closing-down — closing
Others Education trisyllabic nouns. Adjectives that usually form stable combinations. Hand-me-downs — Used Clothes
A pick-me-up — an energy drink tonic
A stand-up comedian — comic
A put-up job — Shenanigan

But, of course, there are certain nuances. For example:

  1. Not necessarily the value of phrasal verbs and nouns formed from them will be the same:
    • Look out — cautiously, be careful.

      Look out! There’s a car turning here! — Beware! This turns the machine.

    • Outlook — perspective landscape, outlook.

      The outlook was really gloomy. — Weather was really grim.

    • Check out — go (from a hotel room), check.

      You must check out of your room till noon. — You must leave the room before noon.

    • Check-out — box office.

      There are 35 check-outs in our supermarket. — In our supermarket 35 offices.

  2. Some phrasal verbs can form two types of nouns, but they will have a different meaning and significance. For example:
    • Breakout — escape, one of the discussion groups (for example, at the conference).

      A mass breakout of the prison was narrowly avoided. — Mass jailbreak was barely averted.

    • Outbreak — flash mass appearance.

      There has been an outbreak of meningitis. — There was a sudden flash of meningitis.

  3. Despite the diversity of opportunities phrasal verbs, there are still the verbs from which it is impossible to form nouns.

    For example, the verb to work out the meaning of «calculated», we can not form a noun.

    Please, work out the business trip expenses and submit them to our accountant till the evening. — Please calculate the travel expenses and provide their accountant until evening.

    But the meaning of «engaged», «practice» is noun is.

    My friend and I have decided to keep fit and we have an intense workout every morning. — My friend decided to keep fit, and every morning we have been intensively engaged in.

    As well as phrasal verbs, nouns, derived from them, may have a set of values:

    Her take-off looked really hilarious. — It looked really funny parody. (take-off — a parody)

    Flight LH 829 is ready for take-off. — Flight LH 829 ready for take-off. (take-off — take-off)

    The English language is changing rapidly, and now there are many popular nouns that are derived from phrasal verbs. But the original verb is not used:

    • Feedback — feedback.
    • Outcome — the output result.

A more detailed analysis of this topic can be found here:

Word Translation
Backlash Gap, retaliation
Breakdown Fall, failure
Break-in Breakthrough, trespassing
Breakout The outbreak, jailbreak
Breakthrough Breakthrough
Break-up Rupture
Closing-down Closing
Crackdown Crackdown
Cut-off point Starting point
Downfall The Fall
Downpour Downpour
Drawback Lack
Dropout Exclusion (from school)
Fallout Precipitation, fallout
Feedback Feedback
Hand-me-down Reach-me-down
Intake Consumption
Knock-down prices Junk prices
Offspring Descendant, scion of the product
Onlooker The observer, a spectator
Opening-up Opening
Outbreak Flash, sudden onset, excitement
Outburst Explosion, Flash
Outcast The exile, an outcast
Outcome Output Output
Outcry The protest, a cry
Output Out result
Pay-out Payments
Pick-me-up Energizer, stimulating drink
Printout Print
Put-up job Machination
Setback The failure, delay
Setting-up Installation and assembly
Shoot-out Shootout
Stand-in Changer, understudy, replacement
Stand-up comedian Comedian
Take-off Rise, parody
Telling-off Reprimand, scolding
Throwaway product Disposable products
Turn-up Cuff, surprise
Underpass Underground crossing
Whip-round Collect money

This is just a small list of words derived from phrasal verbs, with several translations. But actually transfers the data of nouns and adjectives in the Russian language can be enough depending on the context. Therefore, I always recommend to students to use English-English dictionary for more accurate interpretation and understanding of the meaning.

  • For more information about the use of English-English dictionary you can read in the article «Why do you need English-English dictionary.»

And now let’s try to check which of the new nouns are remembered, and which still need to brush up on. I propose to make a small test.



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