18 Phrasal Verbs With Up: Boost Your English Vocabulary!
Updated: Nov 28
What do fix up, dress up, catch up, and go up all have in common? They are phrasal verbs with up! Today we will practice 18 of them! Learning phrasal verbs is a quick and beneficial way to increase English vocabulary, so without further ado, let's check them out! Do you want to improve or repair something? We can say "fix up". Fancy starting a new hobby, such as hiking? You could say "I'd like to take up hiking". Are there no eggs left in your refrigerator? You need to "stock up".
What is a phrasal verb?
A phrasal verb is an expression that includes a verb and a particle. They are usually prepositions or adverbs. For example, in the phrase "pick up," "pick" is the verb, and "up" is the particle. "Pick up" means to collect something or someone. English speakers often use phrasal verbs to make their English sound more natural.
Here are a couple of example sentences with pick up:
I picked up some vegetables at the store today
I picked my friend up from the library and gave him a lift home
Related article: 17 Phrasal Verbs With Down For Speaking Practice
18 phrasal verbs with up
Here are 18 common phrasal verbs with up, in no particular order, along with their meanings:
Fix up: Repair or improve something. It is often used for old or well-used items.
Pick up: Collect someone or something. Also, to lift something.
Take up: Start a new hobby or activity. Also, it means to occupy or fill a space or time. (EG: cleaning the house takes a lot of time!)
Stock up: Buy or gather a large quantity of something.
Go up: This means an increase or rise in something. prices go up, temperatures go up, value goes up, etc.
Back up: To support or assist someone. It also means to save a copy of your data or files.
Break up: This means to end a relationship, usually a romantic one. It also means to break things into pieces, like a bar of chocolate,
Make up: To create or invent something. We can make up stories. It often comes with the nuance that it is not very believable!
Catch up: Get up to date with the latest news or gossip. Also, to reach the same level as others.
Brighten up: This is to make something or someone more cheerful or lively. It's also used to talk about the weather in this way, too.
Dress up: To wear formal, smart, or fancy clothing. It's used for costumes, too!
Warm up: This means an increase in temperature or moving your body to prepare for physical activity.
Look up: To search for information, like in a dictionary, or raise your gaze to see something. It also means that you respect someone.
Speak up: This phrasal verb means to express your opinion or thoughts louder and more clearly.
Meet up: If we gather or come together with others, we can use the phrase "meet up". Often for social events.
Dream up: To invent or imagine some kind of idea or story. It has a feeling of creativity about it.
Climb up: To move higher by using your hands and feet. For instance, to move up a ladder. It can also be used to talk about other things such as a team climbing up the league table.
Check up on: To verify or investigate someone or something. We might need to confirm a fact, or look to see if our friend or relative is well.
Phrasal verb sentences
Here are some example sentences that use today's phrasal verbs:
I'd like to fix up my old car. It needs a lot of work, but I'll be able to sell it for a good price if I can make it run well and look good!
Would you be able to pick our daughter up from the library?
What kind of hobby would you like to take up, if you had enough free time?
Mary wants to stock up on breakfast cereal while it is discounted at the supermarket.
The price of petrol has gone up again (go up) recently!
My coworkers did not back me up when the manager was criticizing me. I thought they had my back.
Sharon broke up with her boyfriend last week and now feels much happier.
Dave made up a story about his dog eating his homework. The teacher did not believe him!
Let's meet over coffee soon so that we can catch up! It's been too long!
The weather is brightening up now. Shall we go for a walk in the park?
The children in the neighborhood dressed up for Halloween!
It's always best to warm up before playing football. You might get injured otherwise.
If you look up now, you'll see a big plane flying overhead. I wonder where it's going?
Could you speak up please Takahiro? I can't hear you well!
I met up with my old friend from high school last week. He hadn't changed a bit!
My business partner dreamt up an amazing plan for the product launch. I really think it can work!
Our volleyball team has been climbing up the league table this season. We might even win it!
Could you check up on Uncle Tom? He hasn't been feeling too well lately.
Phrasal verbs with up: build up your vocab!
If you can use some of today's phrasal verbs with up, I think that would be great for your English! Next time you are in a conversation, try to use one of them! One last thing - phrasal verbs can be kind of like idioms - they are great to use in moderation. If you use them too often, it can sound a bit repetitive or robotic. So just add them into your conversations when you judge they are appropriate. Thanks for reading!