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This question already has an answer here:

Why you native english speaker guys always use up with verbs? To emphesize? Like point and point out ? Or like is there big difference between:

  • let's pull a chair
  • let's pull up a char

Or,

  • read this book
  • read up this book

What is the exact point here? When should I use those?

marked as duplicate by user5267, Glorfindel, P. E. Dant, Varun Nair, M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Oct 13 '16 at 5:36

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    You need to do some research on phrasal verbs – J.R. Oct 12 '16 at 18:51
  • I know phrasal verbs . but in those cases these verbs has similar meanings at least i assume that way – user37821 Oct 12 '16 at 19:07
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    Well, you assume wrong, I'm afraid. (Also, "read up this book" is wrong. You can read up on a subject, but you can't read up a book.) – TonyK Oct 12 '16 at 19:17
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    As J.R. (+1) points out, you non-native English speaker guys need to like study phrasal verbs more thoroughly. (We native English speakers guys always like capitalize the names of languages, too.) – P. E. Dant Oct 12 '16 at 19:40
  • There is no such verb as "explain up". The meaning of the ex prefix in explain (a verb of Latin origin) runs counter to the meaning of the English up, and so they won't be found paired. "Explain" means to lay something out, whereas up conveys the idea of completion or of reaching the destination. Native speakers intuit the meaning of ex without having to study etymology or Latin. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 13 '16 at 9:50
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English has numerous phrasal verbs, or verbs that appear with a preposition, and usually also have a different meaning than the verb without the preposition.

However, sometimes there is no big change in meaning.

In these cases, up a lot of times means "completely" or "thoroughly":

Clean this mess up = Clean the mess completely.

Read up on your history, you don't know what you are talking about = Read thoroughly on your history (implication: you need to be educated)

Up, while it typically means "above", can also mean "toward with the intent of ending the motion near X" with verbs of motion.

Pull up a chair = Pull a chair toward me.

The cat snuck up on the mouse = The cat snuck toward the mouse.

Walk up to the counter = Walk toward the counter.

And of course there's verbs where up changes the meaning into something related, but different.

I added another task to my list. (My task list gained a task.)

The numbers don't add up. (The numbers don't total what I expect.)

I dug a hole for the firepit. (There's a spot somewhere missing some dirt.)

I dug up information on the suspect. (I went through a lot of information to find things I wanted.)

  • I'd argue that the "dug up" example belongs in the second category since it's a figurative use of a literal phrase where the end result is bringing the thing you unearthed towards you. Otherwise, great answer. – Tofystedeth Oct 12 '16 at 21:42

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