Phrasal Imperatives in English

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Prof. Taiseer Flaiyih Hesan ; Teeba Khalid Shehab


The present study has both theoretical and practical sides. Theoretically, it sheds light on phrasal imperatives (and hence PIs) as a phenomenon in English. That is, phrasal verbs are multi-word verbs that are generally composed of a verb and a particle. These verbs can be used imperatively instead of single-word verbs to form PIs.

This study seeks to answer certain research questions: which form of phrasal verb can be allowed to be used as PIs? which type of phrasal verbs can be used “mostly” as PIs? in which function is the PI most frequent?

It is hypothesized that certain forms of phrasal verbs can be used imperatively. Another hypothesis is that certain functions can be mostly realized by PIs. 

Practically speaking, this study is a corpus-based one. In this respect, corpus linguistics like Corpus of Contemporary American English (And hence COCA) can be regarded as a methodological approach since it is empirical and tends to use computers for analyzing.

            To fulfill the aims of this study, the researcher chooses twenty-three phrasal verbs which are used as PIs in COCA. These verbs are gathered manually through the wordlists of COCA.

Using the technique of Microsoft Office Excel in the corpus analysis, it is concluded that PIs of the affirmative form are mostly used in the corpus data. As for the functions of these PIs, it seems that direct command has the highest occurrences there.

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