separable phrasal verb: burn up


Today’s phrasal verb “burn up” has two basic meanings:

1. for something to make a person very angry. For example:

My boss is so arrogant and rude. He really burns me up!

It really burns me up when I hear about corrupt politicians taking bribes!

2. for someone to destroy something on purpose by burning it (usually something made of paper or cloth). For example:

After I broke up with my girlfriend, I didn’t want to keep her letters to me, so I burned them up.

The corrupt politician burned up all his financial records because he didn’t want the police to find out about his illegal activities.

There is another meaning of “burn up” which is very closely related to the second meaning. It is used when we want to say something was destroyed in a fire by accident. In this case, the phrasal verb is intransitive. For example:

I’m upset because all of my old photos burned up in the fire.

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