Archive for January 14, 2011

separable phrasal verb: use up

I have a nice and easy phrasal verb for you today, but it’s one which is very useful. It is the expression “use up”.  We use it when we want to talk about using all of something until there is none of it left. For example:

Peter used up all the toothpaste yesterday, so we have to buy some more today.

All the toothpaste has been used up, so we have to buy some more today. (passive voice)

We’ll probably use up all the toilet paper by the end of the week, so we should get some more.

I’m so tired right now. I was playing with my kids all day, and I used up all my energy.

Don’t use up all the gas in the barbeque. I need it to cook some steaks this weekend.

So we use this expression with items such as gas, toothpaste, and toilet paper, but we can also use it with non physical things such as energy (as in the fourth example). However, please note that we cannot use it when talking about food or drinks.

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