Searching the online OED
Posted: 30 June 2008 10:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
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How do I search for an explanation and examples of a grammatical term, eg “phrasal verb”, in the online OED?

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Posted: 01 July 2008 06:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The entry for phrasal, adj. contains a brief explanation, but a dictionary isn’t quite the right resource for this.

phrasal verb n. a multi-word verb consisting of a verb and another element (typically an adverb or preposition) which together function as a single syntactical unit, as break down, make up, take out, see to, etc.

The OED does not distinguish phrasal verbs from regular verbs in the text, so there’s no way that I know of to search specifically for phrasal verbs.

I’d suggest something like Tom McArthur’s Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language or a good grammar manual for a more complete description and more examples.

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Posted: 01 July 2008 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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There are two dictionaries I know of which may be of help: Longman Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs (1983) and Oxford Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs (1993).

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Posted: 03 July 2008 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks to both.  It seems as if there isn’t any section in the OED which discusses grammatical terms, then, so it’s back to the bookshelf.

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Posted: 03 July 2008 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Although they are primarily usage manuals rather than treatises on grammar per se, you might find the American Heritage Book of English Usage and The Columbia Guide to Standard American English helpful. Both are available free online at http://www.bartleby.com/usage/.  I don’t know if they’re the most up-to-date editions, but they’re both from the 1990s, so they’re not too far out of date.  The same site has Fowler’s The King’s English (1908), Mencken’s The American Language (1921) and Sapir’s Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech (1921), all of which are obviously dated but might be helpful with understanding concepts like phrasal verbs.

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Posted: 04 July 2008 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Today’s Grammar Girl podcast happens to be about phrasal verbs. Diegogarcity in action.

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