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pull the belt out / pull out the belt

English translation: See comments below...

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12:00 Mar 30, 2007
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Tech/Engineering - Mechanics / Mech Engineering
English term or phrase: pull the belt out / pull out the belt
Explain me please, is there a difference and what is more correct (or more English) in the following cases:

then pull the belt out through the alternator
then pull out the belt through the alternator

pull out the platform completely and remove the article from the platform
pull the platform out completely and remove the article from the platform.

Thanks.
Alexander Taguiltsev
Russian Federation
Local time: 23:20
English translation:See comments below...
Explanation:
In neither case could it be said categorically that either version was wrong, but there can be nuances of meaning or feeling.

For your first example, my very slight preference would be for your second version; my reason being simply that here the verb 'to pull out' is being used as a synonym for 'withdraw', and hence I think it works best used inseparably.

If the question were: "in what direction do you pull the belt?", then the answer would be "out", and hence you first version would be better; "Pull the belt out through the hole and push it back in agaian the other side"

In your second example, I think I slightly prefer the second version — except that in neither case would I personally choose the adverb 'completely'.

One might rephrase it as "Pull the platform all the way out", and so I would prefer to keep the verb as separable, regardless of which adverb you use. Here, it is definitely a case of "in what direction do you pull it? — outwards", and hence I think the 'out' belongs at the end. Here, it does not have the sense of 'withdraw' in the meaning 'remove'.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2007-03-30 14:43:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

It would be naïve in the extreme to assume that there is any simple, hard-and-fast rule to deal with the whole thorny field of English phrasal verbs. Some are always separable, some are never separable, and some can be either — sometimes, but not always, with some nuance of meaning. Handling them confidently and instinctively is one of the things that marks out an English native speaker and their work — and very often betrays a non-native hand!

Don't be too paranoid about it! Just try to learn those few exceptions (always / never separable) that can be pitfalls, and by copious exposure to the language, you will begin to get a feel for how to handle the others as they crop up. As I have tried to suggest above, a good rule of thumb can sometimes be to consider what other verb might replace the problem verb in your particular sentence, and how that might influence or suggest the word order. Also, remember the old-school thinking that "you shouldn't end a setence with a preposition" — even though as a hard-and-fast grammar rule this is now somewhat passé, it can be helpful when it comes to assessing how elegant or ugly the resulting sentence will be; or of course, if you need to avoid untidy or unclear juxtapositions of prepositions (at any point in the sentence). Remember the oft-cited example of preposition abuse: "where did you get that book to be read to out of from?"

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2007-03-30 14:51:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In the latest example you mention, "I rang (up) my mother (up)", the situation is different again; to start with, it is arguable whether the 'up' is even needed at all; probably these days we would tend to leave it out, unless for the sake of rhythm in the sentence. But otherwise, there is no nuance of meaning possible between 'ring Mother up' and 'ring up Mother', so I think you could safely say that in modern, idiomatic EN, you could safely use either — UNLESS other factors in the sentence dictate one or the other.

To some extent, it depends a bit on how strong the prepositional value is; where the verb can logically be used with some sense of physical position, like 'pull out', the position of the preposition in the word order may have a more significant effect; but where the preposition has a very weak or non-existant literal meaning (as in 'to ring up'), its position is relatively unimportant.

Much has been written about the theoretical use of phrasal verbs, but the best thing for you to do would just be to read and listen to as much REAL English as possible, "as she is spoke"!
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 22:20
Grading comment
Good lesson! A lot of thanks to all. But no way to add gloss... :(
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +6See comments below...
Tony M


  

Answers


46 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
See comments below...


Explanation:
In neither case could it be said categorically that either version was wrong, but there can be nuances of meaning or feeling.

For your first example, my very slight preference would be for your second version; my reason being simply that here the verb 'to pull out' is being used as a synonym for 'withdraw', and hence I think it works best used inseparably.

If the question were: "in what direction do you pull the belt?", then the answer would be "out", and hence you first version would be better; "Pull the belt out through the hole and push it back in agaian the other side"

In your second example, I think I slightly prefer the second version — except that in neither case would I personally choose the adverb 'completely'.

One might rephrase it as "Pull the platform all the way out", and so I would prefer to keep the verb as separable, regardless of which adverb you use. Here, it is definitely a case of "in what direction do you pull it? — outwards", and hence I think the 'out' belongs at the end. Here, it does not have the sense of 'withdraw' in the meaning 'remove'.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2007-03-30 14:43:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

It would be naïve in the extreme to assume that there is any simple, hard-and-fast rule to deal with the whole thorny field of English phrasal verbs. Some are always separable, some are never separable, and some can be either — sometimes, but not always, with some nuance of meaning. Handling them confidently and instinctively is one of the things that marks out an English native speaker and their work — and very often betrays a non-native hand!

Don't be too paranoid about it! Just try to learn those few exceptions (always / never separable) that can be pitfalls, and by copious exposure to the language, you will begin to get a feel for how to handle the others as they crop up. As I have tried to suggest above, a good rule of thumb can sometimes be to consider what other verb might replace the problem verb in your particular sentence, and how that might influence or suggest the word order. Also, remember the old-school thinking that "you shouldn't end a setence with a preposition" — even though as a hard-and-fast grammar rule this is now somewhat passé, it can be helpful when it comes to assessing how elegant or ugly the resulting sentence will be; or of course, if you need to avoid untidy or unclear juxtapositions of prepositions (at any point in the sentence). Remember the oft-cited example of preposition abuse: "where did you get that book to be read to out of from?"

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2007-03-30 14:51:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In the latest example you mention, "I rang (up) my mother (up)", the situation is different again; to start with, it is arguable whether the 'up' is even needed at all; probably these days we would tend to leave it out, unless for the sake of rhythm in the sentence. But otherwise, there is no nuance of meaning possible between 'ring Mother up' and 'ring up Mother', so I think you could safely say that in modern, idiomatic EN, you could safely use either — UNLESS other factors in the sentence dictate one or the other.

To some extent, it depends a bit on how strong the prepositional value is; where the verb can logically be used with some sense of physical position, like 'pull out', the position of the preposition in the word order may have a more significant effect; but where the preposition has a very weak or non-existant literal meaning (as in 'to ring up'), its position is relatively unimportant.

Much has been written about the theoretical use of phrasal verbs, but the best thing for you to do would just be to read and listen to as much REAL English as possible, "as she is spoke"!

Tony M
France
Local time: 22:20
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 496
Grading comment
Good lesson! A lot of thanks to all. But no way to add gloss... :(
Notes to answerer
Asker: Sure, I met this phrase before "all the way out" , exactly, I replace it in my translatio. But, again, when I speak English every time I hesitate what to use: I rang my mother up or I rang up my mother. Normally I used the frst one. New generation of Russians makes me use the second variant, that is close to Russian expressions. What to do?

Asker: Sure, I met this phrase before "all the way out" , exactly, I replace it in my translatio. But, again, when I speak English every time I hesitate what to use: I rang my mother up or I rang up my mother. Normally I used the frst one. New generation of Russians makes me use the second variant, that is close to Russian expressions. What to do?

Asker: The University of Irkutsk (The city near the nice Baikal lake taught me to split verbal preposition and move it away to the end of a sentance. But they taught us correct English of 70-th (of London radio and TV. ) Now I hesitate. How to use it - separately or together. The editor of the company I work for likes the prepositions together with verbs, forgetting that there are some of meanings or feelings...


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Buck
19 mins
  -> Thanks, Buck!

agree  Richard Benham: Thanks, Tony; you saved me the trouble!
44 mins
  -> Thanks, RB!

agree  Elena Aleksandrova
46 mins
  -> Thanks, Elena!

agree  David Cahill
1 hr
  -> Thanks, David!

agree  Ken Cox: to borrow an expression from the Dutch: if you need to know, just pop open a can of Tony M
2 hrs
  -> Thanks! And that's a good example of one that wouldn't work as a separable.... // Mind you, some would say it's more like a Pandora's box...!

agree  Dave Calderhead
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, Dave!
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Changes made by editors
Mar 30, 2007 - Changes made by Tony M:
LevelPRO » Non-PRO


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