separable phrasal verb: bring up


Today I’d like to write about phrasal verbs. As I said before, these are very important in English and native English speakers use them all the time in all situations: formal, casual, business, etc.

Phrasal verbs come in two forms: separable and inseparable. When a phrasal verb is separable, it means that the noun can come either in the middle or at the end. However, if the noun is changed to a pronoun (it, them, him, her, etc) then it MUST go in the middle. I’ll give you an example of this with “call off” (which means to cancel a group activity).

My parents have called off the party because they don’t have time to have it.  (correct)

My parents have called the party off because they don’t have time to have it.  (correct)

My parents don’t have time to have a party so they called it off.  (correct)

My parents don’t have time to have a party so they called off it.  (NOT correct)

So this is what we do with separable phrasal verbs. I’ll deal with inseparable phrasal verbs tomorrow. Now, today’s expression is “bring up”. This has two main meanings:

1. to mention something for the first time in a conversation. For example:

In the meeting today, Bill brought up the problems we’re having with the ABC project.

When I was having lunch with my friend, he brought up the subject of guns.

A: Why are we talking about the economy? Who brought it up? Was it you, Sam?

B: No, I didn’t bring it up. Sarah brought it up.

2. to raise children. For example:

The Smiths have eight children. I don’t know how they can bring them up and still have time to travel.

I want to bring my children up in a small town.

My parents brought me up to be polite.

I was brought up to be polite. (passive voice)

Another way to use it is when you carry something to another place which is located in a higher position. For example:

You go upstairs and take a nap. I’ll bring some food up to you later.

“Bring up” can also be used to mean to vomit, but this is quite formal. For example:

Last night, I was so sick. I brought up my entire dinner.

So, these are the ways in which we use “bring up”. It’s a very common expression so I hope that you’ll be able to understand it and use it now. Tomorrow, I’ll deal with inseparable phrasal verbs.


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