Posted by: Jack Henry | October 23, 2017

Editor’s Corner: More Rules for Using Phrasal Verbs

Rule 3: Capitalize Phrasal Verbs in Titles

When writing titles, we capitalize major words (such as nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs) and lowercase minor words (such as articles, prepositions, and conjunctions). The JHA Style Guide calls this style “title case,” and The Chicago Manual of Style calls it “headline-style capitalization.”

Some writers have trouble with phrasal verbs in titles. The second part of a phrasal verb looks like a preposition (which should be lowercased), but acts as an adverb (which should be capitalized).

Once you’ve identified a phrasal verb, this rule is easy: capitalize the whole verb.


· Backing Up Your Data

· Setting Up Your Printer

· Logging On to Your Computer

Rule 4: If the Direct Object of a Transitive Phrasal Verb Is a Pronoun, Put It Between the Verb and the Adverb

This rule sounds difficult, but like putting adjectives in the right order, you’re probably already doing this without realizing it.

The Oxford Dictionaries web site explains this rule simply, and the Macmillan English Dictionaries web site explains it in great detail, so I’ll just give a few examples.

Consider the sentence, “Set up your printer.” Set up is a phrasal verb. Your printer is a noun phrase. You can put the noun phrase after the phrasal verb, or between the verb set and the adverb up.

· Correct: Set your printer up.

· Correct: Set up your printer.

What if you replace the noun phrase your printer with the pronoun it? You can still put the pronoun between the verb and the adverb, but you can’t put it after the phrasal verb.

· Correct: Set it up.

· Incorrect: Set up it.

Ben Ritter | Technical Editor | Symitar®
8985 Balboa Avenue | San Diego, CA 92123
619-682-3391 | or ext. 763391 |

Symitar Documentation Services

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  1. […] my previous post (about phrasal verbs), I used the phrase “logging on to your computer.” Some of you noticed that I wrote on to as […]

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