Level Up English Podcast 236 Phrasal Verbs ending in up

Why Add "UP" to Verbs?

In this episode, we’ll be talking about some patterns you can remember when adding UP to verbs.

Here are some examples: cloud up, clear up, finish up, drink up, break up

One of the Level Up Members recently asked about the difficult part of phrasal verbs where we add ‘up’ to a verb and why we do this. I decided to make an entire episode about it because it’s not an easy thing to get your head around. Part 1 was Episode 224.

I decided to stop the episode halfway because 1 hour of listing phrasal verbs might be a tad boring. So let’s finish up the patterns in today’s episode.

I will add a complete lesson on Level Up English with a quiz and subtitles to help you understand. If you want to access this as well as join a global learner community to get access to all transcripts, group lessons, and many more courses.

5 Grammar Patterns for 'Up'

To see the first 4 patterns, look for part 1 here: 4 Grammar Patterns for UP Part 1

Use 5: To Create Something

  • Set up – to create something for a specific purpose
  • Dream up – to creatively think of an idea or solution
  • Draw up – to create a drawing
  • Cook up – to create a meal
  • Write up – to write something yourself (with creativity)

Use 6: To Divide into Pieces

  • Cut up – to cut into pieces
  • Break up. Split up – to end a relationship and the couple is divided
  • Rip up – to break paper or fabric into pieces
  • Chew up – to break something into pieces with teeth

Use 7: To Block Something

  • To plug up – to block something (with a plug)
  • To clog up – to get blocked (often for toilets)
  • To block up – to block something (eg. a sink)

Use 8: To Join Together

  • Join up – to join into a group
  • Team up – to join as a team (eg. in sports)
  • Partner up – to join with another person in a two-person group

Use 9: To Stop

  • Give up – to stop trying
  • Play up – to stop working (eg. technology)
  • Hold up – to stop (eg. moving)

Can you think of any more examples for these 5 uses?

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4 thoughts on “#236 Adding ‘Up’ to Verbs (Part 2)”

  1. Hello Michael,

    I hope this message finds you well. My name is Douaa, and I am reaching out from Algeria. I am currently in the process of preparing for my upcoming IELTS exam, and I am encountering a particular challenge with the speaking section. Despite having immersed myself in English by reading numerous novels and listening to a variety of podcasts, I am still struggling to converse in English, even when practicing on my own.

    I would greatly appreciate your guidance and advice on how I can overcome this hurdle and develop more effective English speaking skills. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    1. Hi Douaa! Based on your comment, I’m sure you’ll do great in the writing section.

      As for speaking, I suppose it depends on what specifically you’re finding difficult about it. Another IELTS student in our group class this week recommended practising speaking 2 hours a day for the exam! I’m not sure if it’s necessary, but that was their method.
      So make sure you’re getting a lot of practice time in.

      Try to answer lots of example questions online. I recommend timing yourself answering a question and recording your answer too. At first, it may be difficult to fit in the time, but eventually, you’ll get more and more confident and you’ll be able to fill out the time easily. If you listen back to the recordings, you’ll also see what areas you need to improve on more.

      I can’t give you much more specific advice without actually talking to you, but I hope this gives you some ideas!

  2. Hi Michael, I am from Saudi Arabia I am listening for your podcasts since I was working on ILETS. Now I am done quite A lot, But still starting my day with your podcast. Because the way you speak the topics make the episode interesting.

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