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March 3, 2012

act up

  1. When a person behaves badly.

    My kids were acting up during the movie – they were talking loudly and annoying everyone in the theater!

  2. When a disease or medical condition starts to become annoying after not being a problem for some time.

    I can’t play soccer today. My left knee’s been acting up lately.

back up

  1. back (someone) up= give someone support or help, especially when they make a difficult decision or present an idea that may be unpopular.

    The manager decided to cancel our holiday, and the director backed him up on it.

  2. back up (files or documents on a computer) = make a copy of the information in case there’s a problem with the computer in the future.

    If you back up your files, you won’t lose your work if your computer crashes.
  3. back up (a car) = drive the car in reverse.

    You should check your mirrors frequently when backing up in order to avoid an accident.

beat up

  1. beat (someone) up = physically attack a person with kicks and punches

    The bank robbers beat up the security guard so badly that he had to be taken to the hospital.
  2. beat (yourself) up = be angry at yourself because of a mistake you made.

    I’m beating myself up over that stupid mistake I made on the test!
    Sarah, I know the job interview went badly, but don’t beat yourself up about  it. I’m sure you’ll find another opportunity.

blow up

  1. Explode.

    The bomb blew up and destroyed the building.
  2. Have an explosion of anger.

    Donna blew up when she discovered that her son was using drugs.
  3. Blow (something) up = inflate with air.

    We blew up 500 pink balloons for my daughter’s birthday party.

bottle up

To keep emotions inside.

Dan bottles up all his emotions – he never shows what he’s feeling.

break up

To end a romantic relationship.

Sally and her boyfriend broke up last week.

bring up

  1. bring (someone) up= care for and educate a child for many years.My sister isbringing up three biological children and two adopted children.
  2. bring (something) up= introduce a subject into a conversation or discussion.Ibrought up the issue of salary adjustments during the meeting.

cheer up

cheer (someone) up = to make someone happier

My son was sad because he had a bad day at school. I tried to cheer him up by buying him ice cream.

clean up

To make clean

Please clean up the mess you made in the kitchen!

come up

To arise.

Sorry I couldn’t come to your birthday party yesterday – something came up.

Click here to take the quiz on these phrasal verbs!

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