When to use the former and when to use the later?

Example sentence:

Seeing how devoted she was to me, my heart warmed (up).

Should there be an up? Why or why not?


I would reserve the idiomatic "warmed up" for things like coffee, yesterday's meatloaf, etc. Mainly things relating to temperature.

"I warmed up my tea that got cold."
"I went inside to warm up."

I wouldn't recommend using it for more abstract ideas.
"The card from my grandson warmed my heart."

These are not definitive rules, just suggestions. Your sentence with the "warmed up" would be fine in most contexts.

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  • I think you're correct. Warmed up is for exercise and liquids. – alex Mar 23 '18 at 11:55
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    That said, there are plenty of uses of "warm up" for non-literal contexts, like this 1986 article "Warming Up Soviet-Japanese Relations". I think a big hint is in your example "the card warmed my heart" rather than "my heart warmed" - warmed is often transitive, meaning "to heat something else". – stangdon Mar 23 '18 at 12:44
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    Not just exercise, but also musical performance: singers "warm up" before a concert, for example. – Canadian Yankee Mar 23 '18 at 13:28

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