Some phrasal verbs can be both as separable and non-separable. 

 

Separable: A phrasal verb is said to be separable when a noun or pronoun object can come between the verb and the particle that make up the phrasal verb.

 

Non-separable: When a phrasal verb is described as non-separable, it means the particle cannot be separated from the verb; that is, the noun or pronoun object cannot come between the verb and the particle. The object can only come after the verb and the particle of the phrasal verb. 

 

The following examples show words that make up a phrasal verb can be used both ways: separately and non-separately.

 

Examples:

  • Separable: The rescuers called the search off because of the worsening weather.
    (The noun search is between verb called and the particle off. Call off = stop doing something)
  • Non-separable: The rescuers called off the search because of the worsening weather.
    (Noun object search comes after the particle off.)
  • Separable: Dad turned the television on
    (Turn on = switch on something so that is starts working)
  • Non-separable: She turned on me for no reason.
    (Turn on = attack physically or verbally)