The adverb up forms part of many phrasal verbs, including follow up, give up, look up and wash up.

  • Management will soon follow up on the consultant’s recommendation.
  • Passengers who give up their seats for this flight will receive $300.
  • Ross looked up the names in the alumni database.
  • Everyone in town went to see the whale washed up on the shore.

However, the following phrasal verbs are inappropriate in formal writing: finish up, listen up, practise up and wait up.

  • When the secretary finished (not finished up) formatting the letter, he returned it to the manager.
  • Hannah has been practising (not practising up) her Japanese phrases in preparation for her assignment in Tokyo.
  • Wait for (not Wait up for) the rest of the group at the main gate.

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A tool created and made available online by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada

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