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Mix three eggs with 2 cups of water into a bowl

Mix three eggs up with 2 cups of water into a bowl

What is the right one and why? Is 'mix up' a phrasal verb, and if so, when and where is it used?

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  • 1
    I'm surprised nobody has suggested "beat three eggs..."
    – jtbandes
    Jan 3, 2017 at 4:40
  • Well, if American English (I'm in Florida) can be called proper, "mix up" means confuse. I've read about English fry-ups and some Americans says things like, "Mix up that cookie dough for me, would you, sweetie?", but IMO all confused little adverbs should be chased from the kitchen with a broom!
    – user47116
    Jan 3, 2017 at 5:11
  • @jtbandes perhaps because mix applied to two such ingredients in a recipe just means make into a uniform liquid, while it's common to use beat for something much more vigorous, especially when referring to eggs. For the former I might use the knife I'd cracked the eggs with, for the latter a whisk (or a fork for small quantities).
    – Chris H
    Jan 3, 2017 at 10:11
  • @jtbandes: Takes out whip...
    – user541686
    Jan 8, 2017 at 2:00

3 Answers 3

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The dictionary seems to say that to "mix up" means to mistake one thing for another, or misplace something, or jumble things together without order. Examples:

She mixed up what day the test was on, and so arrived late.

He dropped the tray and everything in it, that he'd so neatly sorted, got all mixed up.

However in my experience, colloquially, people use "mix up" all the time to mean "mix", as in

Could you mix up a bunch of eggs for me? I'm really hungry.

If that is the case, it should be "mix up three eggs ..." and not "mix three eggs up." As a general rule of good English style, you should keep a dependent preposition close to its verb. So "climb up on the table" and not "climb on the table up", "get over a bad cold" and not "get a bad cold over", etc. However it's not followed religiously, for example:

The recipe calls to mix in the sugar with the flour.

The recipe calls to mix the sugar in with the flour.

Both are used -- in fact it seems to vary with context. So you might have to pay attention to individual cases.

Anyway, here again the "up" is optional since "mix" and "mix up" are synonymous when talking about something like eggs. Both refer to exactly the same action -- to blend the eggs in with the water.

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  • Wouldn't that be "cook me up"? Maybe you're thinking of pancakes?
    – TimR
    Jan 2, 2017 at 19:38
  • @TRomano like scrambled eggs. Again, it's colloquial.
    – Andrew
    Jan 2, 2017 at 20:31
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    Are you sure about this? It doesn't sound right to me (American English). Mix up in your second usage doesn't mean "blend" but rather something like "prepare and cook (quickly)". Just like I'm going to whip up some eggs means I'm going to fully prepare a simple egg dish but I'm going to whip some eggs means that I'm going to beat some raw eggs (or probably just egg whites) into a frothy mass. To me, mix up eggs with water would mean either to confuse the eggs for the water or maybe to prepare an egg dish of some sort using water. It's just not how recipes are written.
    – 1006a
    Jan 3, 2017 at 3:24
  • @1006a No real argument from me. I've also heard "whip up", "scramble up", "fry up", or fix up". All mean more or less the same thing when it comes to eggs.
    – Andrew
    Jan 3, 2017 at 4:25
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First off, you should say "in a bowl", not "into a bowl".

You usually use the verb "mix" to mean to combine or blend. You can also use the phrasal verb "mix up" to convey this sense, but it's less common. It's usually used to mean to confuse, to upset, or to put something in disorder. For examples:

I am always mixing up the twins.

Your question has completely mixed me up.

You have mixed up all the papers.

So you usually say:

Mix 3 eggs with 2 cups of water in a bowl.

Mix 3 eggs and 2 cups of water together in a bowl.

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  • mix and in a bowl .. you don't need together. mix implies together; especially as those are the only two ingredients in the sentence; and you can't mix eggs or water with the bowl. Jan 3, 2017 at 7:26
  • Khan's answer is good.
    – user5505
    Jan 3, 2017 at 9:42
  • @Burhan Khalid, Mix A and B together. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl (Oxford Dictionary). However, we can omit "together".
    – Khan
    Jan 3, 2017 at 11:57
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Yes, it's technically a phrasal verb. You can say "Mix up some eggs." and you can say "Mix some eggs up.", but if you use a pronoun for the eggs, you should say "Mix them up.". This is common phrasal verb grammar.

As to the meaning, the preposition "up" is sometimes used in English to emphasize that the activity is perfective, as in "I'm going to eat you up." .

It suggests that the action is performed to completion -- in this case, that the eggs are thoroughly mixed into the water.

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