2.9. Vocabulary. Phrasal verbs with ‘CUT’.


It wasn’t really the type of work that I was suitable for / have a vocation for but I took the job anyway. My job was to separate by cutting the ends of pieces of plastic. Later, the factory reduced the number of staff, and I found myself without a source of income. I enlisted/applied on the dole. They soon stopped my dole, so I had to reduce the number of luxuries. I eliminated all the things that I didn’t really need, but one night in a moment of depression I cut dole card into pieces, after that they wouldn’t let me sign on and stopped my dole.



You may notice that there are distinctive patterns to the way that prepositions affect the meaning of phrasal verbs. With no particle there is one meaning, which is not particularly expressive. ‘To cut’ is what you would do with a knife of scissors but we are not told exactly what. ‘To cut up’, is much more specific, and means to ‘cut into pieces’. The meaning of other verbs such as break up, smash up, tear up, rip up, etc, all have the same idea of destroying, or reducing to small pieces. By the same logic, cut off, break off, smash off, tear off and rip off, all show the idea of separation.  But be careful, this way of thinking doesn’t apply to everything.