The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

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Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 24

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Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 24, No. 0, pp. 62-85
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Print publication date 31 Jan 2024
Received 13 Nov 2023 Revised 16 Dec 2023 Accepted 13 Jan 2024

Phrasal Verbs with “Around” and “About” as a Grammatical Pattern
Ekaterina Chon
Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature Mokpo National University 1666 Yeongsan-ro, Cheonggye-myeon Muan, Korea, Tel: 061-450-2114 (

© 2024 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The paper explores the semantics of phrasal verbs, focusing on two groups with particles “around” and “about” that share the meaning of aimless or silly actions. The study suggests to treat them as a grammatical pattern, proposing a framework that imposes semantic constraints on the verb and particle combinations. The research focuses on delineating the grammatical patterns and semantic restrictions, showcasing how the verbs and particles align within these constructions within corpus data. The study highlights the significance of these patterns, emphasizing their role in understanding language use beyond the sum of individual parts. Beyond traditional lexical analyses, this research illuminates the pragmatic and semantic regularities within these phrasal verbs. A formal representation is introduced to illustrate how the pattern may be represented in mental lexicon. This approach is tested with another group of phrasal verbs featuring the particle “up,” emphasizing the notions of completeness and carelessness. The study highlights the importance of examining synonymity and recognizing grammatical patterns beyond traditional lexical analyses. It asserts that while not all phrasal verbs may fit these patterns, they provide valuable insights into language use, revealing the dynamic relationship between verb semantics, particle meanings, and pragmatic considerations.

Keywords: corpus, cognitive semantics, construction grammar, grammatical pattern, particles, phrasal verbs, synonymity

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