Posted by: Idioma Extra | December 28, 2011

Thursday Tidbit — Make up

Make up

One of the more important aspects of the English language to learn are phrasal verbs, which are a verb plus a preposition (sometimes two or three). In some cases, one phrasal verb can have many different meanings.

How many definitions can you think of for the phrasal verb make up? There are, in fact, five definitions of this phrasal verb (there are some nouns for makeup, but they are not technically phrasal verbs). Here are some examples:

Make up = invent

I had to make up an excuse to my boss for why I didn’t come to work.

If you can’t think of an answer, just make something up.

Make up = reconcile

He made up with his girlfriend after the argument.

Make up = recover; redo (for example a test or class due to cancellation)

We need to make up the class sometime next week because it was cancelled this week.

Make up (of)= constitute

Ten years makes up a decade.

Cake is generally made up of flour, eggs, and water.

Make up = to put in order (generally things in the house)

My mother always told me to make up my bed before going to school.  

I told my son to make up his room because it was a mess.

Check yourself

Underline the correct definition of make up in the sentence based on the context of the sentence.

1.  We have five classes to make up because of holiday cancellations. (reconcile / recover)

2.  I could tell that he was making up the story by the look on his face. (put in order / invent)

3. It’s a good idea to make up right away with a co-worker after an argument to maintain a healthy work atmosphere. (reconcile / invent)

4. My son refused to make up his room. (constitute / put in order)

5. A computer is made up of many complex circuits. (put in order / constitute)

6. We have to make up for lost time. (recover / invent)

7. He’s always making up stories that never happened to him. (put in order / invent)

8. Many types of ethnicities make up the US population. (constitute / recover)

9. Giving flowers is a good way to make up with a loved one. (reconcile / put in order)

10. I never feel like making up my bed in the morning. (put in order / recover)

Answers to last week’s Check Yourself

1.  Have you (never / ever) tried cow tongue?

2.  The employees have (ever / never) received a raise.

3. She said she will (never ever / ever) go on a date with a co-worker.

4. The contestant (never / ever) received their prize for winning the contest.

5. Would you (never/ ever) consider living in a foreign country?

6. I don’t think she has (ever / never) read a book in her life.

7. My boss said he isn’t (never ever / ever) going to hire someone without experience.

8. The student (never / ever) finished the test.

9. Will this economy (never / ever) get better?

10. I don’t think this rain will (never / ever) stop.


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