GIVE AWAY – phrasal verb – meanings and examples

The English phrasal verb GIVE AWAY has the following meanings:

1. Give away = to distribute or to give something for free

(transitive) When items are distributed or given to someone else without the expectation of payment in return. Synonyms include donate and provide.

  • He said he will give away all of his money to charity when he dies.
  • Tom is going to give away a lot of his stuff that is in the garage.
  • Every now and then, the local cafe gives away free coffee.
  • I’m giving away my old grammar books if you are interested.

Word Order
Notice how the object can be between the two parts of the phrasal verb or at the end:

  • I can’t believe you just gave away those tickets!
  • I can’t believe you just gave those tickets away!

BUT, if you use object pronoun (them instead of those tickets), that object pronoun has to be in the middle, NOT at the end.

  • I can’t believe you just gave those tickets away!

We can change those tickets to the object pronoun them. It becomes:

  • I can’t believe you just gave them away! (Correct)
  • I can’t believe you just gave away them! (NOT correct)

2. Give away = to tell a secret, often unintentionally

(transitive) When special information or secrets are told, often unintentionally or accidentally. Synonyms are divulge, expose, and reveal.

  • Make sure you don’t give anything away about the surprise party.
  • I accidentally gave away a clue about where the gifts were hidden.
  • Why did you give away that information? It was supposed to be confidential.
  • Please don’t give away any of the details yet.

3. Give away = to fail to use an opportunity

(transitive) When you carelessly fail to take advantage of an opportunity or chance of something happening. A synonym is lost.

  • After losing today’s match, they have given away all chances of winning the league.
  • The bad conduct has given away all hope of being promoted.

Give away – Summary Chart

GIVE AWAY - Meanings and examples of the English Phrasal Verb GIVE AWAY - Woodward English

Lesson tags: Away, Give, Phrasal Verbs
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