General Writing and Grammar Help/phrasal verb


Dear Ted,

Can you please explain what is meant by “phrasal verb”.

Is “based on” a phrasal verb in the following sentence:
“Pewter is composed of an alloy based on tin and other metals.”

Would you also please parse this sentence.

Thank you



Dear Rich:

A phrasal verb consists of a verb PLUS a preposition OR a verb PLUS an adverb.  The construction is called a "phrase," because you must have at least two words, one of which is a verb.  Either the preposition or the adverb that goes with the verb MUST be included.  The phrase verb has a different meaning from just the verb itself.

This site has specific examples for "base on" --

Here are some other really good sites for explanations of phrasal verb, although the reference from "" gets VERY involved and relates more to semantics than to grammar.  Be wary of the information at that site.

The parsing of your sentence:

Pewter -- noun [subject of the sentence]
is composed -- verb phrase
of an alloy -- adverbial prepositional phrase
based on -- phrasal verb
tin and other metals -- two objects of the preposition "on," which is part of the phrasal verb.


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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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