Verb Phrases with Up

A verb phrase is an expression that usually contains a verb and a preposition. Which preposition to use with which verb is best learned by just listening to the language.
Of course, you can always go to the dictionary, but we are often too busy to spend so much time on such a small word.

Today we will give examples of many verb phrases in which the preposition is “up.” This nice list was sent to me by a member of the Peanut Gallery named Aarifa.

It’s easy to understand “up,” meaning toward the sky, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake up? At a meeting, why does a topic come up?
Why do we speak up, call up our friends, and write up a report?
We use paint to brighten up a room, we polish up the silver; we warm up the leftovers in the microwave, and clean up the kitchen.
We lock up the house and fix up the old car.
People stir up trouble, line up for tickets, work up an appetite, and think up excuses.
To get dressed is one thing, but to dress up is something special.
A drain must be opened up because it is stopped up.
You can sit down, or you can sit up.

We open up a store in the morning, but we close up at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed up about “up”!
If you look up the word “up” in the dictionary, it takes up almost ¼ page and can add up to about thirty definitions.
If you are up to it, you might try to build up a list of the many ways “up” is used.
It will take up a lot of your time, but if you don’t give up, you may wind up with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding up. When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing up.
When it rains in Houston, it messes up traffic badly. When it doesn’t rain all summer, things dry up.

One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it up, for now my time is up.


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