Using "Up" in English

Using “UP” – English practice

The word “up” [ʌp] in English can serve many roles and have varying meanings depending on the context. So let’s explore how “UP” is used, including common phrasal verbs and expressions with “UP” in English. It can function as an adverb, preposition, adjective, verb or noun. Let’s look at some of the most common examples of its use:

  • As an adverb: “up” describes direction upwards or downwards, position, condition, or change.

    • For example: “He looked up at the sky.”
  • As a preposition: “up” indicates movement to a higher position, proximity to something, or opposition.

    • For example: “She climbed up the ladder.”
  • As an adjective: “up” refers to vertical position, a high level, readiness, or a positive mood.

    • For example: “The curtains were up.”
  • As a verb: “up” can mean to lift something, increase in volume or value, or revive.

    • For example: “He upped his salary by working overtime.”
  • As a noun: “up” is often used in idiomatic expressions describing changes in condition, social status, or emotional state.

    • For example: “The ups and downs of life.”

“Up” is also used with phrasal verbs in English. Phrasal verbs are verbs that consist of two or three words and have a special meaning that is not always derived from the individual words. For example:

  • He woke up early. – He awoke early.
  • She broke up with him. – She split up with him.

Phrasal verbs with up can have various meanings, for instance:

  • give up – surrender, quit, stop
  • look up – search, improve, gaze upwards
  • make up – reconcile, fabricate, apply makeup
  • pick up – lift, collect, sense
  • turn up – arrive, intensify, fold up

Phrasal verbs can be transitive or intransitive, separable or inseparable. This affects whether an object can be inserted between the verb and particle. For example:

  • He gave up smoking. – He quit smoking. (transitive, inseparable)
  • He gave smoking up. – He quit smoking. (transitive, separable)
  • He gave it up. – He quit it. (transitive, separable, pronoun always comes after particle)
  • He woke up. – He awoke. (intransitive, inseparable)

We encourage you to consider more examples with “Up” below, and also complete the exercise on using “Up” in English to reinforce your knowledge. If you manage to score over 75%, then well done! If not, keep practicing as English is above all 95% practice and only 5% grammar study. The main thing is not to give up!

Common expressions (phrasal verbs) with “UP” and their meanings

Wake up: To stop sleeping and become alert.

  • Example: I wake up at 6 a.m. every morning for a jog.

Give up: To stop trying to achieve something or surrender.

  • Example: Despite the difficulties, she refused to give up on her dream.

Turn up: This can mean to increase volume or intensity, or to arrive, often unexpectedly.

  • Example: The party didn’t start until he turned up with the music equipment.

Back up: To support or make a copy of information.

  • Example: I always back up my files to avoid losing important documents.

Look up: To search for information or when things start to improve.

  • Example: If you don’t know the meaning of a word, look it up in the dictionary.

Stick up: To attach something to something else.

  • Example: I stuck up my photo to my resume before the interview.

Go up: To rise or move to a higher place.

  • Example: We went up to the top floor of the hotel to enjoy the view.

Grow up: To mature and become an adult.

  • Example: When I grow up, I want to become a scientist and study marine biology.

Clean up: To tidy or purify a space.

  • Example: After the party, we spent a long time cleaning up the kitchen and bathroom.

Cheer up: To lift spirits or make someone happier.

  • Example: I tried to cheer up my sister after a tough day by telling jokes.

Dress up: To wear very nice or formal clothing for a special event.

  • Example: We need to dress up very nicely for this party at the fancy restaurant.

Make up: To reconcile after a conflict or fabricate a story that may be untrue.

  • Example: After a big argument, the brother and sister changed their minds and made up.

Speed up: To increase speed or pace.

  • Example: I started to speed up to catch the bus.

Blow up: To explode or make something excessively large.

  • Example: The entire horizon lit up when the gas pipe broke and blew up.

Pick up: To lift something or someone off a surface.

  • Example: She picked up the soil from under her feet, putting her shoes on the grass.

Exercise using “up” in English

Read the sentences and choose one of the answer options to correctly form a sentence with “Up”.

Using "Up" in English

Practice. Expressions with Up

To rush so that you aren’t late is the same as to ______ up.

To stick a poster to a wall is the same as to ______ up a poster.

To put nice clothes on and look smart is the same as to ______ up.

To go faster and faster is the same as to ______ up.

To make something louder is the same as to ______ up the volume.

To make or create trouble is the same as to ______ up trouble.

Her husband died so she had to ______ up the children alone.

To not share your feeling with anyone is the same as to ______ up your feelings.

To explode a bomb in a building is the same as to ______ up a building.

To redo your lipstick and tidy up your hair and appearance is the same as to ______ up.

I missed a lot of classes so I have to work hard to ______ up.

To admit you have done something wrong is the same as to ______ up.

To not go to bed early is the same as to ______ up.

To fasten your coat is the same as to ______ up your coat.

The boy ______ up his seat to the old lady.

To go from being a child to being an adult is the same as to ______ up.

To appear univited is the same as to ______ up.

To divide into groups is the same as to ______ up.

To ask someone to talk loudly so that you can hear them is the same as to ______ up.

To not be able to speak or move because of fright or worry is the same as to ______ up.

I am so tired today because I ______ up early.

If you hit, punch or kick someone, it’s the same as to ______ up someone.

The police ______ up the political demonstration.

You should always ______ up any words you don’t know in a dictionary.

To try to find some information or thing from the past is the same as to ______ up something.

If you form a queue to get something, it is the same as to ______ up.

To become happy after being sad or miserable is the same as to ______ up.

I don’t know the telephone number so I’ll have to ______ it up.

To clean a room is the same as to ______ up.

To finish your drink quickly because you are leaving is the same as to ______ up.

I can’t believe he ______ up the bill and paid for our dinner.

To stop outside of somewhere is the same as to ______ up outside.

To practice a skill you have already is the same as to ______ up a skill.

If a problem suddenly happens, it is the same as a problem has just ______ up.

If you don’t ______ up, we will be late.

To go from sitting to standing is the same as to ______ up.

To support something or stop something is the same as to ______ it up.

The traffic was ______ up because of road work.

To make a mistake is the same as to ______ up.

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