Is there a difference between these two phrasal verbs? I know that fold up means simply folding something once or several times. Eg, folding (up) clothes, a piece of paper, etc. I also kind of know what fold over means because this phrasal verb comes up a lot. It probably has a similar meaning. But what is the difference between the two? How do I know when to use fold (up), and when to use fold over? I looked up fold over, online definitions did not make it very clear. All they said was fold something over means double over on itself. But isn't that what fold (up) means? I think fold over is different from fold up.

  • You could have found online definitions for fold up too. Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 6:19

2 Answers 2


The difference is the number of folds. If you fold something over, you have made one fold. If you fold something up (e.g. to make it smaller and tidier) you have made more than one fold, usually several. You might fold over the corner of a page of a book to help you find it again, but you would fold up a bed sheet after washing it, to put it away in a drawer or on a shelf.


One of the many definitions of "up" is:

adv: tightly or firmly in order to keep something safe or in position.

For example, "tied up" means tied tightly, "wrap up" means completely covered.

"Folded up" means that something is completely folded into a desired state or shape.

"Folded over" just describes one single fold.

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