Literal and Metaphorical Meanings of English ...

source: Oxford Online English    2017年3月13日
Many English phrasal verbs have a literal and metaphorical meaning. Learning about these meanings can help you learn and remember English phrasal verbs.
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I have a question for you:
You can 'look into a bag'.
You can 'look into a problem', or 'look into an idea'.
What’s the difference? And, is there any connection?
When I 'look into the bag', we’re using 'look into' with a literal meaning. I’m physically looking inside the bag.
But if you 'look into a problem' or 'look into an idea', 'look into' doesn’t have a literal meaning. If you 'look into a problem', you examine it or you investigate it.
Here, 'look into' has a metaphorical meaning.
When we use phrasal verbs with metaphorical meanings like this, the meaning can be hard to guess.
Thinking about the meaning of the separate words 'look' and 'into' doesn’t really help you to guess the meaning of the phrasal verb 'look into'.
However, if you think about the literal meaning of 'look into', it starts to make more sense.
When I 'look into' the bag, you can say that I’m examining the bag. I’m investigating the bag to see what’s inside it.
If you think like this, using 'look into' to mean 'examine' seems more logical, right?
Many phrasal verbs have metaphorical meanings like this.
In this lesson, you can learn about phrasal verbs in English. You'll learn about four verbs: 'look', 'take', 'walk' and 'get'. We will look into the literal meanings of using prepositions with these verbs, and then see the metaphorical meanings of the phrasal verbs with the same form.
You’ll learn how to use the phrasal verbs in different ways. This will make phrasal verbs seem a little more logical and easier to remember!