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Juliana-Grein-Wülker: Bibliothek der Angelsächsischen Poesie 3:117–

139. 1898. King James Bible—A. W. Pollard: The Holy Bible. A Facsimile. 1911. Mandeville's Travels–A. W. Pollard: The Travels of Sir John Mande

ville. 1905. O. E. Genesis-Grein-Wülker : Bibliothek d. ags. Poesie 2:318-444. 1894. Owl and Nightingale—J. E. Wells: The Owl and the Nightingale. 1909. Paston Letters— Jas. Gairdner: The Paston Letters. 1901. Piers Plowman-W. W. Skeat: The Vision of William Concerning Piers

the Plowman. 9th ed. 1906. Testament of Love-W. W. Skeat: Chaucerian and Other Pieces. pp.

1-145. 1897. Witch of Edmonton—Ernest Rhys: Best Plays of Thomas Dekker. pp.

387-473. 1904.

Recent Literature Cited

Bible-Revised Version of 1882.
Four Years—J. W. Gerard: My Four Years in Germany. 1917.
H. Finn S. Clemens (Mark Twain) : Huckleberry Finn. 1884.
Iron Heel— Jack London: The Iron Heel. '1908.
Outlines—Jno. D. Barry: Outlines. 1913.
Sixes and Sevens—0. Henry: At Sixes and Sevens. 1911.
Wallingford—J. R. Chester: Wallingford in His Prime. 1913.



I have avoided the use of the term 'verb-adverb compound' because I do not wish to give the impression that in all the combinations that I have studied and cited hereinafter the verb and combining particle are welded together with a uniform closeness. On the contrary, these coñbinations differ greatly in respect to closeness of combination. In some, as, for example, bear out 'corroborate, come by 'acquire,' get at 'reach,' hit it off 'agree, be congenial,' make out'understand,' own up.confess,' put out 'extinguish,' stack up ‘fare,' whack up 'share or divide,' the elements of the combination have almost or altogether sacrificed their individual meanings and by the act of combination have assumed a new meaning; these may, without hesitation, be termed compounds. In other combinations, however, and by far the greatest number, the verb is modified in meaning by a certain weakly adverbịal, function of the particle but does not entirely merge its verbal personality in the combination. The particle, it is true, loses much of its usual adverbial or prepositional signification but in the combination assumes peculiar adverbial values, as, for example, in bake up 'make a batch of,' blossom out 'blossom in a showy manner,' blot out 'destroy,' bottle up'enclose in a bottle,' button up fasten with buttons. And in many others, finally, the usual values of verb and prepositional-adverb remain fairly evident, as in brush off, brush out, bubble over, burn down, cave in, fall down, flame up, hang up, leak out, rinse out, tack down.

It becomes evident at once that this last group of combinations shades off so imperceptibly into the great mass of adverbial modifications such as fly away, walk south, go home, etc., that it would be a hopeless undertaking to attempt to classify every verb-adverb combination as either close enough to be termed a verb-adverb compound, or loose enough to be called merely an adverbial modification. And so I have avoided the issue, as regards such an attempt at classification, by including in the material for the present study only combinations formed with the sixteen prepositionaladverbs about, across, around (or round), at, by, down, for, in, off, on, out, over, thru, to, up, with.

I have, moreover, avoided an equally difficult task by refraining from a thorogoing attempt to classify verb-adverb combinations as either acceptable English or as colloquial and slang. The dictionaries, it is true, give a certain amount of assistance to the student of diction and good taste

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in speech ; but none the less, correct usage is such an intangible and varying thing that it is practically impossible to determine the social status of each combination and usage. Some, as, for example, ask for, how down, cry out, go on, make off, point out, would unquestionably be accepted by all, tho, in some cases, very careful speakers might prefer to employ single words of more highly specialized meaning, such as request, bow or kneel, exclaim, continue, depart, demonstrate. Others are more or less thoroly justified by the technical or specialized use to which they are generally put. So we call up by telephone, connect up with the assistance of plumber or electrician, kick off at the beginning of a football game, lay by corn at the last plowing, make up for the stage, etc. But many are frankly colloquial or even slang, altho only a year will suffice, sometimes, to transfer one from the lower stratum of linguistic society to a place of prominence and good standing. Carry on, for example, appeals to all nowadays, since the war has ennobled it, and no one knows what trick of fate may suddenly bring the purist to welcome with open arms such questionable characters as butt in 'interfere,' hold up 'rob,' sport up dress up,' etc.

Indeed, if no other justification were to be found for such a study as this, the very realization which comes to even the most superficial observer, of the fluctuating, ever-growing character of the English language should be sufficient to deter one from passing the subject lightly by and should prevent him ever after from making over-arbitrary pronouncements regarding questions of propriety in speech. For when one is brought to realize that the colloquial waif of today may be the respected citizen of tomorrow, he looks somewhat less harshly at the suspect and gives it at least the benefit of a judgment based upon its individual linguistic merits and possibilities. For language is, after all is said, only a medium for the interchange of ideas, not a cultural end.



1. Most of the discussion, heretofore, of the growth of the verbadverb combination in English, as well as in the Germanic tongues in general, has been confined to those aspects of the matter which are concerned with sentence-stress. Professor Curme has shown at some length the gradual shifting of usage in the early English from the verb with inseparable prefix to the combination where the particle or so-called separable prefix follows the verb in the sentence. Others have taken up certain phases of the development in briefer studies in an effort to determine the exact influence that sentence-stress and group-accent have had upon the usage. So that the gradual diminution of the use of the verb with inseparable prefix such as still survives in forgive, foreshadow, outface, outnumber, overtake, overthrow, understand, undertake, withstand, and a few others, has been examined somewhat in detail. It is to be emphasized, however, that with the dropping of the verb with inseparable prefix as a large and vital factor in the development of the English vocabulary, the part that stress plays in the development of the verb-adverb combination becomes much less, and other factors much more important.

2. There can be no question, as others, notably Professor Curme, have shown, that the tendency to stress an adverbial particle following the verb more or less closely, worked, during the Old English and early Middle English periods, toward the elimination of the verb with unstressed, inseparable particle and the gradual increase of the verb-adverb combination such as we are concerned with in this study. And yet Professor Curme's statement (on p. 321) that "we often find accented adverbs and also prefixes, as in, up, ut, etc., after the verb” is likely to give a wrong impression as to the frequency of occurrence of the new usage in the Old English period. In the first 300 lines of the Beowulf, for example, I find twenty-five occurrences of the verb with inseparable prefix such as ofteah (5), forgeaf (17), onsendon (45), forscrifen (106), becom (192), onleac (259), etc., while there are only five examples of the verb

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2 G. 0. Curme: The Development of Verbal Compounds in Germanic. Paul und Braunes Beiträge 39: 320–361. 1914.

3 T. 0. Harrison: The Separable Prefixes in Anglo-Saxon. Baltimore. 1892. H. Eitrem: Stress in English Verb + Adverb Groups. Englische Studien 32:69–77. 1903. J. Ellinger: Ueber die Betonung der aus Verb+Adverb Wortgruppen. Wien

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used with a separate adverbial modifier of the type under consideration, viz., up ahafen (128), forð gewat (210), ut scufon (215), up ... stigon (224-5), gewita þ forð (291). In an equally long passage of the O. E. Genesis occur forty-nine compounds like those above-listed and two combinations, namely, forð cuman (122) and ahof up (148). In the Juliana (Ll. 1–300) I find sixty uses of the compound and a doubtful three of the combination, viz., up astag (62), Wið þingade (260) (which is more probably a compound), and fore stondeð (277). In Book II, chapters 1 and 2, of Alfred's translation of Bede's Ecclesiastical History, fifty-four compounds are used as compared with the two combinations, up ... gesohte (94:15-16) and of cwomon (96:21). In the first of Aelfric's Saints' Lives are seventy-seven compounds, and the four combinations to gesceapen was (59), ut blawap (214), in ateoð (215), and on libbað (216).

In order to make the case as strong as possible for the early development of the verb-adverb combination, I have not listed as compounds any verbs with merely the prefix ge-, and, on the other hand, I have listed as combinations examples where the adverb is probably in reality an inseparable prefix, altho the scribe has left a slight space between it and the verb following. Indeed, of the sixteen examples which I have just listed as combinations, only two show the adverbial particle following the verb. So that we may say that in the five Old English monuments 'under examination occurrences of the verb-adverb combination are practically nil whereas the use of the compound i. e. verb with inseparable prefix is fairly common.

During the Middle English period the development of the verbadverb combination is much more marked, tho it is not easy to conclude from the varying types of literature available just how far this usage advanced in each century and dialect, just as it would be somewhat difficult even today to ascertain the true popularity of the combination if one were confined to printed language alone. Moreover, the inrush of a multitude of Romanic verbs with inseparable prefixes complicates the matter greatly.


8–15 of the Ancren Riwle I find fifty-four occurrences of the native compound, and fifteen of the combination such as etbrec . . . ut (8:11), wende ut (9:9), smit of (14:18), etc. In the first 400 lines of the Owl and Nightingale the compound occurs fifty times, and the combination only six, with ut, vorp, on, adun. In Dame Sirið the proportion is twentynine to five, and in Havelok it is twelve to three. So far the Romanic verbcompound plays practically no part.

But in the next century in the literature of the more formal sort, especially, the Romanic compound verb is more frequently used than either the older native compound or the newer combination. In five pages

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