I had a question, Does "take someone up on something " mean only to accept an offer ? Can it mean to accept a suggestion

In most of the dictionaries like Cambridge and Macmillan had this definition:to accept an offer. But in Idoceonline ,it had a few sentences which I couldn't guess the meaning of: https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/take-up-on

•You don't take me up on anything - you just repeat it in a different order.

• At least six thousand Mennonites took her up on it.

• I offered myself up to be corrupted, but nobody took me up on it.

• Might take her up on it.

• What if I should take you up on it?

P.S. An offer can be something like: She offered me a movie ticket. (Or any other offer,maybe do something) and suggestion is sort of an advice or something like: you could do it this way (or something like telling someone to do something).

What is it actually used for in America? And what exactly do those sentences mean?


All the quotes you mention from the Longman dictionary appear to relate to offers, with one single exception. The Longman quotes are taken from a 'corpus' of real world sources by the look of it.

You don't take me up on anything - you just repeat it in a different order.

I Googled the source of this phrase, and it comes from Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Here is the full context of the phrase as written by Stoppard:

[Guildenstern says:] Why don't you say something original! No wonder the whole thing is so stagnant! You don't take me up on anything - you just repeat it in a different order.

I do think this is probably an exception to the rule that 'take me up on' means 'to accept an offer'. I believe here Guildenstern is talking about the dialogue that he and Rosencrantz have, which is deliberately absurd and confusing and doesn't 'get anywhere' per se. He is complaining that Rosencrantz doesn't 'take up' Guildenstern in a proper debate (ie, he does not enter into an intelligent debate), but just repeats the words 'in a different order'.

Stoppard appears to mean something like the phrase 'pick it up and run with it', which is used in a metaphorical sense to mean 'pick up an idea and develop it'. Guildenstern wants Rosencrantz to 'take up' his ideas and develop them.

In all the other phrases, the definition is 'normal' ... it's talking about accepting some sort of offer.

At least six thousand Mennonites took her up on [her offer].

I offered myself up to be corrupted, but nobody took me up on [my offer].

Might take her up on [her offer].

What if I should take you up on [your offer]?

As @SamBC says, a suggestion is offered, so there is no problem with taking someone up on a suggestion.

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  • Sorry @fred2 but I still didn't get the meaning of the first sentence. – It's about English Mar 1 '19 at 5:04
  • 1
    It's a very unusual usage, perhaps even unique, found in surreal stage play, so to an extent I'd advise you to just ignore it - you may never see that usage again. However, my best explanation of the meaning in simple terms is that it means 'you don't debate anything I say properly'. To be honest, I'm not 100% confident of the exact meaning myself. You also asked about American usage, and Tom Stoppard is a Czech-born playwright writing in British English, so it is doubly not very relevant to you. – fred2 Mar 1 '19 at 5:12
  • And is this usage common too? If you take a person up on something, you ask them to explain something that they have just said or done, for example because you think it is wrong or strange. – It's about English Mar 1 '19 at 5:59
  • No it's not common at all. – fred2 Mar 1 '19 at 6:37
  • So what will be a more common alternative? 1. She was making herself unnaturally casual. But he did not take her up on it. It's in Collins Dictionary. collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/take-up-on – It's about English Mar 1 '19 at 7:57

You might think of it this way...

When we talk about suggesting something to someone, we also say:

If I might offer a suggestion...

We also sometimes phrase offers as suggestions:

If I might suggest the Chablis, sir, it pairs well with the fish.
May I suggest a wafer thin mint?

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