Level Up English Podcast Episode 224 Why Add UP to Verbs Eat up

Why Add "UP" to Verbs?

I got a question about adding “UP” to certain verbs and this learner wanted to know more. As I did more research, I was plunged into a rabbit hole of research and it turned out to be much more complicated than I first realised! I decided to try to tackle this topic in a podcast episode.

Because there’s a lot to talk about, this is just part 1. If you like this episode, let me know! I’ll do my best to make a part 2 if this one goes well.

In this episode, I talk about what a phrasal verb is, how ‘up’ can change the meaning of verbs, and 4 different grammar patterns you can learn to help you understand these words.  

4 Grammar Patterns for 'Up'

This lesson isn’t complete. This is just part one because it’s a big topic! Part 2 will be coming soon.

Use 1: To Increase or Improve

  • Save up money = Increase money
  • Level Up – improve and go to the next level
  • Clean up – increase cleanliness 
  • Clear up – increase clarity (sky, skin…)
  • Listen up – increase your attention
  • Bulk up – increase size
  • Hurry up – increase speed
  • Speak up – speak louder

Use 2: To Get Better

  • To make up – to fix a relationship
  • To heal up – wound gets better
  • Sober up – stop being drunk
  • Cheer up – get happier
  • Brighten up – weather gets better

Use 3: To Move Up

  • Get up – rise from sitting or lying down
  • Button up / do up – attach the buttons on your shirt from bottom to top
  • Fill up – fill from bottom to top
  • Hang up (phone)

Use 4: To Complete Something

  • Eat up – eat and finish 
  • Drink up
  • Finish up – emphasises completion
  • Wrap up – end something
  • Clean up
  • Grow up – grow until you finish growing (become an adult)
  • Heat up
  • Pack up
  • Dry up

Can you think of any more examples for these 4 uses?

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10 thoughts on “#224 Eat or Eat Up? – Why We Add “UP” to Verbs”

  1. Clélia Nóbrega

    Hello, I’ve just come across your podcast and love it already!
    Is there any difference if I say eat up or finish up?

    1. Thanks so much! When talking about food, there is only a small difference.

      “Finish up your vegetables” = This one has more emphasis on finishing them
      “Eat up your vegetables” = This one has more emphasis on just eating more

  2. Hi Michael. I am from Turkey. I have come across your podcast a week ago and started from the beginning. Now, I am on #35. Hope to catch up soon 🙂

  3. Hello Micheal!
    Thanks for everything, my English is really leveling up and in smooth and exciting way because of your all courses’ categories that are related well to each other to make my understanding of English strong and effective.
    Thanks again.

  4. Hi michael👋 This is the first time I write a comment here, i wanna say thank you for all your great works in your podcast and thanks for this topic especially because as you said I don’t understand many of sentences because of phrasal verb, but now l hope i do. thanks again

  5. Hello Michael, I just want to let you know that I’m the one who requested this topic and it was a super beneficial episode. Thank you so much for clearing that out. I really appreciate the time and effort you consumed for this. Have a good day 👋🏻

    1. That’s great to hear, Abdullah! Although actually, I don’t think this was your request. This was a question from one of the members on a comment in the website. I don’t think it was you.
      Your question was an audio message asking about ‘check it out’, right? I’m going to make another episode looking at this specific question soon!

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