When you learn English, you learn about phrasal verbs. What are phrasal verbs? They are verbs which are formed, not of one word, but of two or more words. For instance, if I come home from work and want to watch a TV programme, I go into my sitting room and I switch the TV on. “Switch on “ is a phrasal verb. And when I have finished watching the programme, I switch the TV off, or I turn the TV off – “to switch off” and “to turn off” are both phrasal verbs.
We have thousands of phrasal verbs in English, and I could make podcasts about different phrasal verbs for the next year ( but don’t worry, I won’t!) However today, we are going to have a podcast containing lots of phrasal verbs with the word “up”. You know what “up” means, of course. “Up” is the opposite of “down”. You can climb up the stairs, and you can climb down the stairs again. However, lots of phrases and expressions containing the word “up” have nothing to do with “up” in the sense of “not down”, and this is very confusing.
I am sure that you already know several phrasal verbs containing “up”. In the morning, you wake up. Then you get up. After that, perhaps you have some breakfast. When you have finished eating breakfast, you stand up, and clear the table, and wash up the dishes.
And then perhaps you notice that your room is in a terrible mess – there are clothes and books and CDs on the floor. So you tidy up your room. Yesterday you spilled some coffee on the table. Now you clean it up, and you sweep up some cake crumbs that are on the floor.
Then you set off for school. Today there are some roadworks near your house – some workmen are digging up the road, to repair a broken water pipe. The roadworks hold the traffic up, and you are nearly late for school.
In your English lesson,your teacher asks the class to make up a story about a family going on holiday. First you make some notes about words and phrases which you might use. Then you start to write up your story. You have to look up some of the words in the dictionary. At the end of the lesson, your teacher says, “The time is up – please give me your stories and clear up your things before you leave.”
It is time for lunch. Your friend calls out to you, but there are so many people making so much noise that you cannot hear what he says. “Speak up,” you shout, “I can’t hear you”. “Hurry up”, he says, “I don’t want to be late.” You are hungry, and you eat up all your lunch.
After school, you have just got home when your cousin turns up. She has recently broken up with her boyfriend. You never liked her boyfriend – in your opinion he was silly and immature and needed to grow up. You don’t understand why she put up with him for so long. You try to cheer your cousin up by telling her all this, but it just makes your cousin more upset. You decide to shut up and change the subject. You suggest a trip to the cinema together. But your cousin says she is hard up and can’t afford to go. So you end up offering to pay for her cinema ticket.
And now I am fed up with finding phrases containing the word “up”. I am sure there are many, many more of them. If you want to tell me, and all the other visitors to the Listen to English website, about your day, using phrasal verbs containing “up”, then please post a comment on the website. On the website, you will also find a short grammar and vocabulary note.
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