Picked It Up OR Picked Up It?
Separable and Inseparable Phrasal Verbs
Some phrasal verbs separate the verb from the preposition(s) (or particles) while others do not. Phrasal verbs are either separable or inseparable.
Separable Phrasal Verbs
Separable phrasal verbs can either remain together when using an object that is a noun or noun phrase, or separate:
We lifted the tablecloth off the table.
They put the decorations up in the hotel meeting space.
It is important to remember that separable phrasal verbs MUST be separated when using a pronoun as an object of the phrasal verb.
The aliens set him down in the parking lot.
Hospitality management looked him up in the phone book.
Inseparable Phrasal Verbs
Inseparable phrasal verbs never separate and must remain together whether a noun, noun phrase or pronoun is used.
Fans of amusement parks look forward to summer.
The airlines keep up with the data.
When you are not sure whether a phrasal verb is separable or inseparable, ALWAYS use a noun or noun phrase and DO NOT separate. As separable phrasal verbs must separate when using a pronoun, using the noun or noun phrase will help you avoid this problem and will always be correct.