4 phrasal verbs with “up”

By 24 April 2017 Video lessons 7 Comments
phrasal verbs with up

We Americans, and native speakers in general, use a LOT of phrasal verbs in English. Today, you’ll learn 4 everyday phrasal verbs with up. Are you up for it?

Phrasal verbs separate advanced English learners from lower level learners. And if you speak with native speakers, you need to at least understand phrasal verbs, or I can guarantee, you’ll miss things in the conversation.

I don’t want that to happen to you, so today, we’ll look at 4 phrasal verbs with “up” for everyday conversation. Let’s go!

If you want to stop making a lot of really common mistakes, if you want to speak more advanced, natural English, get my book “What the Faute”, to eliminate 32 common errors in English, like mistake you make with prepositions (those little words like “at”, “to”, “in”, etc.)

Here are 4 phrasal verbs with up that will help you sound more like a native speaker.


Look at this dialogue:

Christina: Romain, do you know why the French like to eat snails?
Romain: Umm, because they’re good?
Christina: Try again.
Romain: Uhhh… I don’t know, I give up!
Christina: They like to eat snails because they don’t like fast food!

Haha, do you understand the joke?

In this conversation, the phrasal verb “to give up” means “I don’t know the answer.” When someone asks you a question that has a correct or incorrect answer, and you don’t know, you can say “I give up.”
Watch the video and you’ll see another joke in English 🙂


Here’s another conversation:

Romain: Hey, Christina, what are you doing this weekend?
Christina: Not sure, why?
Romain: Do you want to go to the Escargot festival?
Christina: Oh, I can’t. I just remembered I have to catch up on some work. I’m late with my work, so I need to catch up on it.
Romain: You’re going to use your weekend to catch up on work. You’re such an American!

Did you understand the meaning of “to catch up” on something?

When you’re late, or behind–with work, emails, watching episodes of Mentalist–you want to catch up on it. To spend extra time doing the activity to not be late on the activity.
And we always put the object after the expression: to catch up on my work, to catch up on the episodes, etc.


This is a very typical, colloquial expression in English. If you know it, I’m really proud of you! Let me give you a test:

Christina: Hey Romain, are you up for going to that new vegan restaurant this weekend?
Romain: Vegan restaurant?
Christina: Come on, it’ll be good.
Romain: Um, no.
Christina: I’ll call Lionel and see if he’s up for it! I’m sure he’ll want to join me!

Any idea what it means, “to be up for something”?

“To be up for something” means “to want to do something” and we use it often to invite someone to join us to do something. Like:

Hey, are you up for a coffee? It means “Would you like to join me for a coffee?” or

“I’m going jogging later if you’re up for it.” That means “I’m going jogging later, if you want to come with me”


Maybe you know “turn up” as in “turn up the volume”, but there’s another definition of “turn up” too! Because it’s too easy if there’s only one definition per phrasal verb, right? Where’s the fun in that?
Let’s see if you can guess the other meaning of “turn up”

Christina: What are you looking for?
Romain: My keys. I lost my house keys.
Christina: You know I have keys, and we live in the same house.
Romain: But I need my keys.
Christina: Well, I’m sure they’ll turn up somewhere. Just keep looking. They’ll turn up.

“To turn up” means a lost object will reappear, but not necessarily at the moment you’re looking for it.

“To turn up” also means something will appear or arrive, usually when you’re not totally expecting it.
Here’s another example conversation:

Romain: Where did you get the dog?
Christina: He just turned up at the house one day, and we kept him.

That’s “turn up”, when someone or something appears or arrives, and you don’t really expect it.

And there’s another conversation in the video lesson, where Romain turns up to party, but suddenly leaves!

Be sure to watch the video lesson to hear how we use these phrasal verbs in conversations, and to laugh at the funny situations 🙂

Now, what about you?

What other phrasal verbs with “up” do you know? Share your knowledge with us in the comments so we can see how smart Speak English Ambassadors are!

And remember to get your copy of “What the Faute”. It’ll help you eliminate 32 common mistakes in your everyday English!

Alright Ambassadors, have a great week, and I’ll see you next time!


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