Directive Adverbs and Idioms

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This is another lesson that is specifically intended for students of English as a Second Language, more popularly known as ESL. 

Adverbs that tell where (place or direction) about the verb are called directive adverbs. They follow the word that they modify. 


We looked for the missing dog near and far.

The poor little bird fell down.

The students are waiting outside.

The professor angrily walked in.

Interestingly, many of these directive adverbs are combined with verbs to make an idiom. An idiom, by the way, is a group of words that form a different meaning when combined together, but when we separate the words that make up an idiom, each word has a different meaning. 

Examples of idioms (Directive Adverbs + Verbs)

Give in

Give off

Give out

Give up

We know that give means to hand something, and out means not inside, up is the opposite of down, in means the opposite of out, and off is the opposite of on. But when we combine them with the verb give, they, of course, form another meaning.

Give in- to surrender; to submit (British English) 

The doctor told you not to eat sweets. Be kind to yourself; don’t give in to your cravings.

My teacher strongly told me to give in my essay not later than 3:00 today.

Give off- to emit gas  or smell

Dama de Noche, literally translated as Lady of the Night, is a Philippine flower that gives off a very sweet smell at night.

Give out means to distribute something

Give out those flyers and leaflets. We have to advertise our products and services, so give out as many flyers as you can.

Give up- to stop, usually after much effort has been made; to stop a habit

I could not fix my computer by myself so I gave up trying; I asked a computer technician to fix it instead.

When are you going to give up smoking?


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