The first list of 20 common phrasal verbs using “up” was so popular, that I decided to post 22 more!  Yes, there are a ton of phrasal verbs that use “up.”  Master these and you’ll be on your way to sounding more like a natural and fluent English speaker.

Phrasal verbs are informal expressions that use two words to create a new verb; they are made up of either a verb + a particle or a verb + a preposition.  Even advanced learners of English can struggle with phrasal verbs because you can’t figure out their meaning by the individual words; you have to just memorize them.

  1. End up: to conclude or end, to arrive — sometimes unexpectedly, to eventually do or be something.
    • Where did we end up with that project?  
    • I was driving to my friend’s house, but somehow ended up in the wrong city.
    • After a lot of discussion, we ended up buying a Toyota. 
  2. Fed up: to be tired or annoyed at something or someone.
    • I was fed up with my husband’s excuses.  
    • She quit because she was fed up with her micro-managing boss.
  3. Fill up: to become full or to make to become full.
    • All of the seats at the lecture filled up, so I had to stand in the back of the room.
    • Can you please fill up the car with gas?
  4. Finish up: to complete.
    • Do you mind if I work late tonight? I just have to finish up a few things and I’ll be home as soon as I can. 
  5. Freshen up: to refresh yourself, by reapplying makeup, washing yourself, or changing clothes.
    • It was a long road trip.  Let me just freshen up and I’ll be ready to go.   
  6. Get up: to move from a laying or sitting position into a standing position, to wake up and leave your bed .
    • The person I was sitting next to on the bus had really strong perfume on.  I had to get up and move seats.  
    • Get up!  We slept through the alarm!
  7. Give up: to stop doing or believing something, to allow someone to have something that was yours.
    • I will give up eating sweets for Lent.
    • I gave up my seat on the subway to a pregnant woman.
  8. Grow up: to become older or an adult, to mature mentally or physically, to be raised somewhere or in a certain way.
    • I can’t believe how quickly my daughter has grown up.
    • He has had to do a lot of growing up this summer to handle all of his new responsibilities.
    • I want my children to grow up in a safe neighborhood.
  9. Hang up: to end a phone call, to hang something on something else, to stop using something because you no longer participate in that activity, to be delayed.
    • I was so angry at my boyfriend that I hung up on him without saying goodbye.
    • Make sure to hang up your coat in the closet.
    • I no longer sew, so it’s time to hang up the sewing machine.
    • Sorry I’m late.  I got hung up at the office.  
  10. Hit up: to ask someone for something
    • I didn’t have any cash, so I hit up my father for $20.  
  11. Hold up: to hold something high, to cause a delay, to support someone or something so they don’t fall, to rob someone or something using a weapon, to remain strong or in good condition.
    • I held up my sign during the protest march.
    • I’m sorry I was late; my flight was held up due to bad weather.
    • I was so drunk that my friend had to hold me up on the walk home so I didn’t fall down.
    • This bank has been held up 3 times in the past year.
    • I’m surprised at how well my car is holding up since I drive it so frequently.
  12. Keep up: to stay informed or up-to-date, to go at the same speed, to continue without interruption, to maintain contact with someone, to stop someone from going to sleep.
    • I like to keep up on the news so I always know what’s happening.
    • He walks so fast that it’s hard to keep up with him
    • The rain kept up all night.
    • I really need to do a better job of keeping up with my friends.
    • My loud neighbors kept me up all night.
  13. Let up: to slow down or stop, to put less effort into something.
    • The rain just won’t let up.
    • My coach never lets up on me; she’s always pushing to to work harder. 
  14. Light up: to light a cigarette, to make a place brighter, to become bright, for one’s face or features to express a strong emotion — usually happiness or excitement
    • I was shaking so hard, it was difficult to light up my cigarette.
    • I love flying at night and seeing the city lit up below me.  
    • My new lamp lights up our living room nicely.
    • Her eyes lit up when she saw her boyfriend for the first time in a month. 
  15. Look up: to admire someone, to find a piece of information a book or online, to visit someone, a situation that improves
    • I really look up to my Ophrah Winfrey.  
    • I need to look up the definition of this word.
    • The next time you’re in town, look me up.
    • It was a tough week, but it’s looking up.
  16. Make up: to invent something like an explanation or story, to combine and form something, to become friendly or on good terms again, to make something complete.
    • My students always make up stories about why they couldn’t do their homework. 
    • This machine is made up of many small parts.
    • My husband and I had a terrible fight last night, but today we made up.
    • I need to make-up a test that I missed last week.  
  17. Mark up: to increase the price of something, to correct or write notes on a piece of writing.
    • They marked up the price by $10.
    • My teacher always marked up my papers with a red pen.  
  18. Match up: to have the same qualities, to find someone or something that forms the right combination with someone or something else, to set up a couple, to be as good as something or someone.
    • The stories from the two robbery suspects didn’t match up.
    • Match up the socks into pairs, please.  
    • I matched up my best friend with my coworker. 
    • I always have felt that I never matched up to my sister; she’s so successful. 
  19. Meet up: to come together with someone, when streets cross or join each other.  
    • I’m meeting up with my friend Jane today.  
    • Follow Main Street until it meets up with the Parkway.  
  20. Mess up: to make a mistake; to make something messy, to have a body part be injured, to be damaged.
    • I really messed up at work today.
    • Those kids really messed up my house; there are dirty dishes all over the place!
    • My knee is really messed up; I can barely walk.
    • My care is really messed up after I was in an accident.  
  21. Mix up: to confused one thing or person with another, to put things together without any order, to make a drink (usually alcoholic).
    • I am always mixing up my daughter’s friend Jane and her friend Amy — they really look a lot alike. 
    • My paper work is all mixed up and I can’t find anything!
    • Let me just mix up a batch of margaritas for us.  
  22. Mop up: to clean up a with a mop, to solve or fix a problem that someone or something has created, to complete something, to remove the enemy.
    • I had to mop up all the mud that the kids tracked in the house.
    • I’m always mopping up his messes and I’m tired of always having to fix his problems.
    • Let’s just finish mopping up this project.
    • The army mopped up the remainder of the rebel forces.  

6 thoughts on “22 More Phrasal Verbs that Use Up

      1. It’s not stupid at all! A LOT of English learners struggle with when to use simple past (I ate ice cream), past perfect (I had eaten ice cream), and present perfect (I have eaten ice cream). Thank you for the suggestion! I will add it to my list of topics to write about.

        Like

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