A corpus-based study of phrasal verbs: CARRY OUT, FIND OUT, and POINT OUT

2014 IJRSLL – Volume 3 Issue 7


Kiativutikul, Choorit*
Thammasat University, Thailand (chooritk@yahoo.com)

Phoocharoensil, Supakorn
Thammasat University, Thailand (Yhee143@gmail.com)


This study, which is exploratory and corpus-based research, aims to investigate the grammatical patterns and the collocates of three phrasal verbs (PVs) in English, i.e., carry out, find out, and point out. They were chosen because the combination of the lexical verbs carry, find, and point, and the adverbial particle out put the three PVs among the top 50 PVs in the British National Corpus or BNC (Gardner & Davies, 2007), and in the Corpus of Contemporary American English or COCA (Liu, 2011). A total of 500 concordance lines were searched from COCA for each PV, and were then placed in an Excel spreadsheet for analysis. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (OALD, 2010) was used as the main reference for information about the definitions of the target PVs, as well as grammatical information and collocates. The results reveal that although most of the grammatical patterns found in this study seem to be in accordance with those displayed in OALD (2010), certain patterns are not provided in the dictionary. The reason could be the limited space of the dictionary and users’ stylistic variation in PV use. Regarding the collocates of the target PVs, most of them are lexical collocation, such as nouns, pronouns, and wh-words, followed by grammatical collocation, such as preposition. Pedagogically speaking, the corpus-based data could help provide additional information not illustrated in dictionaries. In addition, learners can explore the language patterns and search for naturally-occurring samples through the use of corpora.

Keywords: phrasal verbs; corpus-based data; concordance lines; grammatical patterns; collocations


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrsll.2014.820

*Corresponding Author