From time to time, I see the preposition up appearing alongside a verb or a verb phrase and doesn't add anything to the meaning (or at least, it seems so).


Buckle (up)! We have a long journey ahead of us!

People Snuggle (up) to each other.

Let's finish this (up)

In those sentences, is the particle optional? Because, (to me, at least) they have the same meaning as the verb/verb phrase itself.

  • 1
    Just a related note: those two-word verbs might come handy when rhyming matters :-)
    – Cardinal
    May 4, 2020 at 6:07

1 Answer 1


The "up" does change the meaning and the "feeling" of the expression.

"Up" tends to indicate "completeness"

"Buckle" (without an "up") sounds like a command from an Army Sergeant. It doesn't fit the situation of a driver giving a friendly reminder to a passenger.

"Snuggle up" sounds warm and friendly. You could snuggle up with your children in front of the TV. You don't say "snuggle to each other". And "snuggle each other" sounds like something approaching sexuality.

"Let's finish" and "Let's finish up" are similar in meaning, but there is a formality to the first and a warmth to the second.

So "up" is not optional. It is almost required in the first, gives a different meaning in the second, and adds friendliness in the third.

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