A prepositional phrase is a combination of a verb with a preposition. Such a combination may give different meanings to the same verb with different prepositions. For example, the verb “argue” may result in different meanings with different prepositions:
Argue about: dispute or quarrel with someone over.
e.g. They often argue about racial injustice over the dinner table.
Argue against: make a case against someone or something.
e.g. The police discovered new evidence that argued against the criminal charge.
Argue back: answer back.
e.g. I wish he would not argue back so much.
Argue down: defeat someone in a debate.
e.g. He tries to argue down everyone who has opposite views.
Argue for: make a case for someone.
e.g. My lawyer will argue for me in court.
Argue into: convince someone to do something.
e.g. I could not argue myself into helping you in this project.
Argue with: challenge someone or something.
e.g. I won’t argue with what you do; after all, it is your choice.
Therefore, learn more prepositional phrases and find out how they are different in meaning with different prepositions.
Talk back: answer impolitely.
e.g. It's rude to talk back to your parents like that.
Talk over: discuss.
e.g. We'll talk over the matter before we see your parents.
Back down: retreat from a position in an argument.
e.g. Knowing that he did not have a valid point, he backed down.
Back out: desert; fail to keep a promise.
e.g. You said you would help us, but you backed out.
Back out of: fail to keep a promise.
e.g. We cannot back out of the contract; we are legally obligated to do what we are supposed to do.
Back up: support
e.g. Are you going to back me up if I decide to go ahead with the project?
Touch on: mention briefly.
e.g. The professor barely touched on the subject of Civil War.
Touch up: repair.
e.g. Can you touch up the scratches on the door?
Appeal against: ask a court to cancel something.
e.g. The lawyer appealed against the court’s decision.
Appeal for: demand as a right.
e.g. I think we should appeal for justice.
e.g. They are appealing for our help.
Appeal to: attract or please someone.
e.g. The proposal appealed to many of us.
e.g. Her personality appeals to everybody around her.
e.g. Does this food appeal to your taste?
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