Changing of phrasal verbs by tenses

Probably that is extremely strange question , but can I change pharasal verbs by tenses ?

There is no something else information at the most popular resources .

For example , break down

Past Simple — broke down

Present Simple — break down

Future Simple — will break down

If true , what the forms ? (Simple Tenses , Future – in – Past , Passive Voice)


A phrasal verb such as break down (= stop working, e.g. a computer) can be used in the various past, present and future verb constructions because the action of stop working can take place in the past, present or future. It cannot be used in passive constructions because it is an intransitive verb and has no object.

But when break down means hit something so that it breaks and falls to the ground, then it can be passivized in the various constructions, because it is a transitive verb that requires an object:

  • The door was broken down.
  • The wall is being broken down.
  • The hotel will be broken down.

However, just because a phrasal verb is grammatical in the various past, present and future verb constructions does not necessarily mean that it makes semantic sense. Take the verb “to get at = to mean” for example. This makes sense in questions in the past and present tenses, continuous aspect:

  • What are you getting at?
  • What was he getting at?

But it difficult to conceive of a sensible context for the equivalent question in the future:

  • What will you be getting at?

And it is even more difficult to come up with convincing sentences that contain get at in the simple aspect in declarative sentences.

In summary, most phrasal verbs, like most ‘normal’ verbs can in theory be used in the various past, present and future constructions. But, like many normal verbs, they do not always make semantic sense in those grammatical constructions.

Source : Link , Question Author : Виктор Савченко , Answer Author : Shoe

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