I will leave her alone for now so that she can process things up.

I think for a sentence like this one, "process up" makes a suitable fit. I assume it means "absorb", but I didn't find it used according to my research, nor I found its meaning. And although Ngram shows some results for "process up", I didn't find it used as a whole phrase in Google Books.

Does process up exist in English? And can it convey the meaning of "absorb" which is to take something in, especially gradually?

The sentence is said by A to herself in an informal writing story. B has talked harshly to C and told C things that would change C's life to the worse. Then, B leaves A and C alone in the room, and that's when A says the sentence to herself intending C in her speech.

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    I don't think I've ever heard "up" used with "to process." At best it's very awkward, if not wrong. I think we'd need to see more context to make any conclusions about the intended meaning, or to suggest alternatives.
    – TypeIA
    Jun 14, 2019 at 10:50
  • I've added more context. Hope it would indicate exactly what I intend. Jun 14, 2019 at 11:59
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    Your cited text looks like a learner's attempt to reproduce what native speakers would express as ...so that she can finish (things) up (where things is optional, but wouldn't normally be included). It's not idiomatic to use process in this construction. Jun 14, 2019 at 12:08
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    If you dig into some of those Ngram results, none of them are using process up as a phrasal verb. Instead, you'll see sentences like, "[he] divides the process up into a clearly defined set of operations," or, "The result of blowing the Control process up is shown in Figure 3." Those are just situations where the separate words process and up happen to be adjacent to each other in a sentence. Jun 14, 2019 at 13:22
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    TasneemZH: Well, I wouldn't argue the toss with a native speaker. People say whatever they say, and it's not up to me to tell them they shouldn't. But I wouldn't advise learners to think it's okay to play fast and loose with "unusual, uncommon, ad-hoc" phrasal verb forms like this. It might be relevant that what I think of as "phrasal verbs" can normally by used intransitively. So to step up qualifies, because we can say He stepped up, but to think up doesn't work because we can't say He thought up as a standalone sentence. Jun 14, 2019 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


There are many ways to express this idea in common English, but unfortunately your example is not one of them. Consider as alternatives: process (without the "up"), absorb, mull things over, think things over/through, let the gears turn, reflect (or pause to reflect), chew on the idea, contemplate, soak up (as suggested by @Bee), and probably many more.

Take note that many of these are idioms, and some more or less formal than others. Which you choose may depend on factors of your audience which you do not specify in the question.

  • Thank you for the many alternatives although I just wanted to clarify about "process up". Jun 14, 2019 at 11:57

I think the phrase you might be looking for is "soak up".

Generally I think this would only ever be used metaphorically so it might be worth clarifying:

I will leave her alone for now so that she can soak up the information.

Do let me know if that's not the what you were looking for!

  • It works according to its meaning in the dictionaries. It is a synonym to "absorb", and you stated that it can be used metaphorically. But instead of "the information", I would write "things". Thank you! Jun 14, 2019 at 11:54
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    @TasneemZH "To soak up (the) things" (instead of information) doesn't work for me, but you could say "to soak everything up" or, more idiomatically, "to let it all sink in."
    – TypeIA
    Jun 14, 2019 at 12:05
  • @TypeIA _ Seems as great suggestions. I may go with the latter. Thanks! Jun 14, 2019 at 14:25

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