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Phrasal verbs usually have a direct object.

The direct object is the important clue in distinguishing between separable and non-separable phrasal verbs.    

The phrasal verbs are written in red. The direct objects are written in blue.

Jon and Heidi are a husband and wife who get along with each other very well because they both love to garden. Gardening gives them a chance to get away from the worries of their jobs in the city.  As they walk around their garden, they talk about the gardening that needs to be done. They look for weeds that need to be pulled and grass that needs to be mowed. They wish they could slow time down on the weekends. 

One thing is certain, however. They will never cut down the old tree that stands in the middle of their land.   

Which verbs are separableand which verbs are non-separable    

Separable Verbs

The direct object MAY separate the two parts of the phrasal verb.

If the direct object is a pronoun, it MUST come between the verb and the particle.

Non-separable Verbs

The direct object must NEVER come between the two parts of the phrasal verb.


Jon will never cut down the tree. 

Jon will never cut it down.

Heidi gets along with her husband (him)                

Get away from the hot stove (it). 

Look for the answers (them) in the back of  your textbook.

Let's talk about our vacation (it) tomorrow.