TOP 20 Phrasal Verbs that use UP – A New Way To Study & Remember!

Lesson Overview

If you are wondering how to learn phrasal verbs, in this lesson, I’m sharing a new way of thinking about and learning phrasal verbs (that use the particle UP!) Move up, dream up, think up, fill up, whip up and plenty more

I’ll teach you 5 core categories to help you understand the meaning behind these phrasal verbs. Understanding the categories help you to interpret the meaning and make better decisions about their use. You’ll be able to learn, remember, and master phrasal verbs with “up”.

In this lesson, you’ll find phrasal verbs that relate to these categories:
⬆️ move up
⬆️ increase or improve
⬆️ create
⬆️ fix
⬆️ complete

Can you think of any more phrasal verbs that fit into those categories?
Let me know in the comments!

Enjoy the lesson,
Emma x

Video Transcript
Section 1
Hey there! I’m Emma from mmmEnglish. Today we are gonna master phrasal verbs that use the word up.

So I’m gonna teach you the most common phrasal verbs with up and I’m gonna do it in a slightly different way. It’ll be a new way to help you understand the meaning and to remember the phrasal verbs better by focusing on the particle, focusing on up.

So perk up, get up and round up your mates, we are about to dive into this lesson.

I wanna let you know that I’ve put together an awesome worksheet with all the phrasal verbs that I go through in this video. So when you’ve finished watching it or even before, you can download that worksheet right down in the description box below for some extra practice.

As you probably know, phrasal verbs are made up of a verb with a particle, maybe even two. All the phrasal verbs in this lesson include the particle up and by focusing on up we get to study the meaning and understand how the verb is influenced by the particle.

And we’re gonna split the phrasal verbs from this lesson into five different categories. Ones that generally mean to move up, to increase or improve to create, to fix and to complete.


So we’re gonna start with phrasal verbs that have a general meaning, to move up.

So the word up means to take something from a low position to a high position, doesn’t it? So if I pick up my mug and I move it higher, I move it up, then I’m taking it from a low position to a high position.

So there are a few phrasal verbs that fall into this same category, right? And they use up.

pick up

So of course, we have pick up.

So that means to lift or to move something or someone, right?

  • We can pick up our mug.
  • We can pick up our child.

get up

We can also get up and get up can mean to rise after sleeping or sitting down for a period of time. You might say:

  • I have to get up and go to my meeting.

fill up

We also fill up things.

So when we fill up something, we put something inside it all the way to the top until it’s full. So we can fill up our glass with water.

So you’ll notice that in all of these phrasal verbs, we’re taking something from a low position and moving it to a higher position.


The next box is to increase or improve in some way and so these words really mean to make something greater or better or bigger which is similar to moving something upwards but not quite.

Let’s think about some of the phrasal verbs with up that help to express the same idea.

climb up/go up

We climb up. Or maybe we go up a set of stairs and that’s to increase the height that you’re at and to reach a higher level of a building.

  • I climbed up the stairs to get to the balcony and watch the sunset.

We also use go up to talk about an increase in value or an increase in number, as well.

back up

You can also back up, this is a great phrasal verb, it means to provide extra support or increase the support that you need.

  • She backed up her stories with photographic evidence.

You know we might even say that someone backed you up, they provided support, they argued on your side. They were supportive of you, so they backed you up.

grow up

We say grow up and that means to increase in size or maturity.

  • We say our kids grow up too quickly.

cheer up

Cheer up. We use it when we want to improve our mood, right? To cheer up.

  • Cheer up, the weather’s gonna be better tomorrow.

dress up

We also dress up, which means we increase the quality of our clothes. Maybe we make ourselves look better, look nicer.


All the phrasal verbs in this box relate to create.

cook up

You know I love to cook, right? So the phrasal verb, to cook up, is a really great one to use when you want to make something, some food for someone else, to cook up some dinner, to cook up a steak for example.

It can also mean to get an idea ready, an exciting, interesting idea.

  • I’m cooking up a plan to do something interesting, maybe a surprise party.

whip up

Now whip up is a little similar to cook up, it means to cook something but to do it really quickly.

  • I’m just gonna whip up a sandwich during my break.

Right? We wouldn’t whip up an entire roast dinner but we can whip up something quickly.

dream up

How about to dream up? To think of a new idea or to imagine something new, to be creative with your thoughts.

  • I dreamed up an entire new plan for the party.

set up

And we use set up when we organise or we plan something like an event or maybe even a system.

  • I set up my studio every time I need to film a lesson for you.

make up

Make up is a good one as well. Make up can refer to inventing or creating a lie or a fake story.

  • She would often make up stories to make her life seem more interesting.

Make up. Cool, huh? Not to be confused with the noun makeup but the phrasal verb make up is to creatively think up a story or an idea.

come up

We can also use come up with when we’re creating something, a new idea or a solution because come up with means to suggest or to think of a new idea.

You know Elon Musk? Great example.

  • He comes up with grand plans to save humanity like electric cars and flying to Mars.

So can you see how all of those phrasal verbs have something to do with, they’re connected to the idea of creating or making something and that’s why they’re grouped together but there are many more of them as well but that’s why paying attention to the particle and the meaning that the particle offers the verb can help you to learn and to practise and to remember and even to guess the meaning of new phrasal verbs.


So in the next box is fix or get better so to fix something or to repair it, to make it whole again.

make up

Let’s go back to make up because if you make up with someone, you’re repairing your relationship after you’ve had an argument.

  • Sarah and John had another argument but they always make up.

And again, that’s not to be confused with our other meaning right our noun or our other phrasal verb meaning, to make up.

heal up

Heal up is another one. Heal up is when an injury gets better.

  • His broken leg healed up really quickly.

So it fixed itself, it got better.

sober up

To sober up, means to become less drunk or intoxicated.

  • Coffee and breakfast will help you to sober up after a long, crazy night out on the town.

patch up

Patch up is a great one. A little informal but a lovely phrasal verb. It means to fix or to make something whole again.

  • I’m gonna patch up the hole in my jumper.

So that I can use it again. I can wear it again. I’m gonna fix it. I’ll patch it up.


Inside the last box, we have phrasal verbs that mean to complete, to completely finish something.

We finish up something, we complete it.

  • Please finish up the design by Friday.

wrap up

Another phrasal verb with a similar meaning is wrap up.

  • It’s almost time to wrap up this lesson.

To finish up, to wrap up.

drink up/eat up

And we can say drink up. Drink up or eat up. That means finish your food or your drink. Finish it, we’re gonna be late.

  • Drink up! We’re gonna be late.

That’s it from me! I really hope that you enjoyed this lesson and a new different way of learning phrasal verbs, focusing on the particle and the meaning that the particle gives the phrasal verb.

Now don’t forget to download that workbook, there’s extra practice in there and you’ll be able to review and revise everything that we went through in this lesson.

And if you enjoyed it, please make sure you hit that subscribe button down there, you give the lesson a like. All of it really helps mmmEnglish.

So thank you for watching. If you want to continue learning about phrasal verbs, check out this one right here and I’ll see you in there!

Links mentioned in the video

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