Let’ s assume I’m in the bakery and I said something like that: “Today we celebrate Fat Thursday in Poland. I’m sure many Polish people will come up/show up/ come by/ another verb.(?)”

I have no idea which verb fits here.

Can I use “show up” when somebody appears unexpectedly? I was told it is used when you were invited to a wedding or a meeting etc.


My American friend advised me to use:

to come by or to stop by = => intent

to show up = to appear, as if by invitation or coincidence

My mom just showed up at my door! What a surprise!

My mom came by today to give me a cake.

  • 1
    Yes, as JeremyC says, show up means "to arrive without giving any advance notice", that is, unexpectedly, or in situations requiring no such notice, arriving without a personal invitation. But it can also mean "to arrive at a place where you are awaited or expected". We waited for half an hour in front of the coffee shop but Jeremy never showed up. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Feb 7 '18 at 14:43

Show up is American English. As a Brit I think it means exactly what your sentence requires. I think it can indeed be used when someone makes an unexpected visit: "You don't need to make an appointment to see the doctor. Just show up."

Come up doesn't sound right in the context of people and a shop. Possible usages are "come up to my apartment", "come up and see me some time", "when the river floods the water will come up to here".

Come by strikes me as American E too. I don't know if it would be used in this context.

In British English I would use "look in", "come in", "drop in","call in". Informally you might hear "pop in".

It looks as if you have plenty of choices of verb.

  • As another Brit, I'd expect ‘turn up’ to be more common than ‘show up’ — and perhaps with slightly more implication of unexpectedness. – gidds Apr 22 '19 at 12:35

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