Phrasals – the simplest type of multi-word units ?

David Lodge, Therapy, Penguin ed., p.26, 1996 (1995)


Naturally I can’t partner Sally in mixed doubles any more, which is a great shame because we used to do rather well in the Club veterans’ tournaments. Sometimes she’ll knock up with me, but she won’t play a singles game because she says I’d do my knee in trying to win, and she’s probably right. I usually beat her when I was fit, but now she’s improving her game while I languish. I was down at the Club the other day with my physically-challenged peer group when she turned up, having come straight from work for a spot of coaching. It gave me quite a surprise, actually, when she walked along the back of the indoor court with Brett Sutton, the Club coach, because I wasn’t expecting to see her there. I didn’t know that she’d arranged the lesson, or more likely she’d told me and I hadn’t taken in it. (sic) That’s become a worrying habit of mine lately: people talk to me and I go through the motions of listening and responding, but when they finish I realize I haven’t taken in a single word, because I have been following some train of thought of my own.