English Grammar

phrasal verbs

Some phrasal verbs are told separable, other are not.
If a transitive verb is said separable, I think it means that the direct or indirect object of the verb comes before the particle.
example with to take out.
I take some coins out of my pocket.
Philip takes her dates out to town.
We couldn't say: I take out some coins or Philipe takes out her dates. Oh my!

Notwithstanding I read in my Robert & Collins that to reach out is a transitive separable verb. To my mind I should say: I reach my hand out for the cup. Although the dico puts forward: "he reached out his hand for the cup". I guess it's a matter of habit and that rules in English are loose.
Is it possibly the influence of a new meaning of "reach out" that is to go close to people for help and social assistance?
So, I read in a American zine "Former senator... has been tasked with reaching out to lawmakers." (= to approach lawmakers)- "Conservatives are reaching out to critics." "Reaching out, though, is not pandering."

And what about a particle jumping from behind to before the verb? To outreach, vi or vt, comes from "reach out". Demands outreach offers. He outreached his hand for the cup.
Outreach worker (dealing with local community services).

Isn't that kind of a mess?
Who could put things straight here?
Thanks in advance.


  • Hi Sandy,
    You CAN say 'I take some coins out of my pocket'. The problem only starts when you use pronouns: you can say 'I take them out' but you can't say 'I take out them'.

    'He takes her out' is ok, but not 'he takes out her'.

  • Yes, Pootle, it's kind of you to make a point about the place of the pronoun. I agree with you. But that doesn't exhaust the issue and I expect to learn more.
    Thank you, though, Pootle.

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