tear off / out

1 Which phrasal verb is correct? 

He tore off / out / tore the page and stuffed it into his pocket.

2 How do we know the actual position of phrasal verb? 

 (a) He tore out the page ....

 (b) He tore the page out ...

 (c) Both answers are correct. 

Btw, somehow it might be incorrect. 

Original Post

Hi, bear_bear,

The correct phrasal verb is "tear (it) out." Because "the page" is not a pronoun and is not a long noun phrase, you can put it between "tear" and "out" or after "out":

(1) He tore the page out and stuffed it into his pocket.
(2) He tore out the page and stuffed it into his pocket.

"Tear (something) off" would be used in a different case. For example, suppose the page was stuck to the wall. He could tear it off the wall. In your example, I presume that he tore the page out of a book/magazine/pamphlet/etc.

bear_bear posted:

Thanks, but how about the sentence below:

The boy tore out the paper from the exercise book to make a plane paper. 

Well, bear_bear, I think you mean to refer to "a paper (air)plane," not to "a plane paper," which makes no sense to me at all. Here is an example of a paper airplane:

paper plane

Apart from that, your sentence is OK. However, it might be said to suggest the boy tore out all the paper from the exercise book to make the paper airplane. If he just tore out one sheet of paper, I recommend using this sentence instead:

(3) The boy tore a piece of paper out of the exercise book to make a paper airplane.

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bear_bear posted:

Thanks, but the sentence is imperative, could I say:

Please tear off a piece of paper from your exercise book.

I think you meant to say ". . . but IF the sentence is imperative . . . ." Your earlier sentences were NOT imperatives. Your new sentence here is an imperative. You can say, "Please tear off a piece of paper from your exercise book." However, as a native speaker, I would find it much more natural to say, "Please tear a piece of paper out of your exercise book." It's a phrasal-verb construction, bear_bear.

Bear_bear,

I agree with everything David says here.

In your original post, the options that you present are confusing.  By the way the words are positioned among the slashes, we must understand the choices to be:

1a: He tore off the page and stuffed it into his pocket.
1b: He tore out the page and stuffed it into his pocket.
1c: He tore tore the page and stuffed it into his pocket.

Again, David's answers are excellent.  It's only the question that is confusing.

I hope you understand this in the helpful spirit in which it was intended.

DocV

 

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