Know about Phrasal Verb: Look after

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Won’t you look after my pet Boa Constrictor?

A Phrasal Verb, not to be confused with Verb Phrase (as in SVO), is an idiomatic expression. As you may recall, idiomatic expressions are sayings that are understood because of use, rather than diction (dictionary definition).

Phrasal Verbs usually contain a Verb and Adverb or Preposition. For example, “look after,” our phrase of the day contains the Verb “look” and the Adverb “after.”  However, “look down,” another common Phrasal Verb, includes a Verb and a Preposition. 

Common Phrasal Verb expressions include “look down, watch out” and “listen closely.” Each contains two words, a Verb plus another word. 

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So what does it mean?

What is the definition of look after?

The Verbal Phrase “look after” means to be responsible for or take care of something. This is especially used in British English. Some examples include”

“Who will look after the children while you’re gone?”

“I’m looking after Mr. Suzuki’s affairs while he’s in the hospital.”

“Don’t worry about me. I will look after myself.”

A bit about grammar

What do I need to know about syntax to use Phrasal Verbs?

Phrasal Verbs use two or more words to describe an action. And, Phrasal Verbs are often transitive, they often, but not always, have a direct effect on the Noun or Nouns. This being said, a Phrasal Verb usually precedes a Noun. 

Let’s look at a dialogue with an odd pet and today’s Phrasal Verb, “look after.”

Suzi: “I’m going out of town, Tom.”

Tom: “Where are you going?”

Suzi: “I’ll be in Spain for a few months. I have a favor to ask of you.

Tom: “What is it?”

Suzi: “Can you look after my pet Boa Constrictor?”

Tom: “No, I don’t think I want to look after a pet snake.”

Examples of the Phrasal Verb “look after”

You need to look after the kids when I’m not around. 

Henry will look after his father until he recovers.  

I get paid $200 a week to look after their son. 

Let’s practice 

Q1: Try making your own sentence. 

Q2: Do you like looking after children? Why or why not? 

Q3: Are you currently looking after some pets at home? Why or why not?

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