What is the difference in meaning between

  1. "He fill up on fuel"
  2. "He fill up fuel" ?

What does "on" in the first sentence mean?

Does "on" mean "He fill up fuel until fuel overflowed"

  • 1
    In your construction, the "meaning" of on is approximately using. That's to say, He filled up [his car fuel tank] on / using / with fuel. Same as If you're still hungry, fill up [your stomach] on / with bread. May 20, 2018 at 13:14
  • Does the preposition "in" also mean "using" ? If so, can we use "in" instead of "on" in the sentence? Can we use "He fill up in fuel" instead of "He fill up on fuel (He fill up with fuel) ?
    – user22046
    May 20, 2018 at 13:26

1 Answer 1


What you've got there is bad English to begin with. A more natural way to say that would be something like this:

He filled up the tank of his car with fuel.

You fill something up with fuel, but you can't fill up fuel itself. That just makes no sense.

However, you can certainly say to fill up on something, but that would mean something a little bit different and you would not necessarily use it to talk about things like fuel or petrol. This is an expression that's more suitable for situations where someone has eaten so much food that they simply can't eat anymore because their stomach is completely full with it. For example:

If you're hungry, fill up on pasta or rice. Eat to your heart's content!

  • If so, What is the difference in meaning between "fill up on pasta" and "fill up pasta" ? Is "fill up pasta" wrong expression?
    – user22046
    May 20, 2018 at 13:05
  • 1
    You can't fill up pasta unless what you want to say is that you're literally filling it up with something. But you definitely can fill up on pasta. In that case, it means that you've eaten so much pasta that you can't eat it anymore. May 20, 2018 at 13:06
  • If so, does "fill up on pasta" mean "fill up with pasta" ? does "on" in the sentence mean "with" ?
    – user22046
    May 20, 2018 at 13:11
  • 1
    The short answer is yes. But the nuances with which you use the two prepositions are a bit different. To fill something up with something means that you completely fill something with something else to the point that there is literally no room for more. The situation with to fill up on something is similar with the exception that the emphasis, in the case of food, is more on the substance that you used to fill yourself with. May 20, 2018 at 13:22

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