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Which one is more correct and natural top up your phone 100 dollars or top up your phone with 100 dollars? For example:

If you need to renew the service, you'll have to top up your phone 100 dollars.

If you need to renew the service, you'll have to top up your phone with 100 dollars.

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    You need a preposition for sure. Using with emphasizes the amount of 100 dollars, using by emphasizes the idea that you're adding to an existing balance. Apr 6, 2021 at 13:24
  • Are you asking because you're interested in the use of "with", or do you want to know a natural way to express this idea? If the latter, your question is too narrow.
    – gotube
    Jun 1, 2021 at 6:34
  • I'd like to know the most natural way to express it please. Jun 1, 2021 at 10:23

2 Answers 2

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I'm not sure, to be honest. I don't think this really has any established rule. It's awkward because there's not any actual thing that you're putting somewhere. The good thing about that, though, is that there's no wrong answer because native speakers don't have any rule about it either. Any of them would sound OK and it would be quite clear what you meant, but "top up your phone by 100 dollars" is probably the best.

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I would expect to hear this phrased as "if you need to renew the service, you will have to buy a $100 top up".

I don't think that "top up" as a verb meaning to add to your (usually mobile phone) account is old enough to have a non-idiomatic usage guide, at least not one that the public would be expected to know. Nor, of course, would my use of "top up" as an object noun.

Writing style guides may have created a preferred style.

Companies (especially companies in the mobile phone space, who sell these top ups) definitely will have created their preferred style, and will expect their employees to use it.

But like anything else (see "xerox as a verb"), what comes down from on high may or may not be what develops from the street. Especially in English.

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  • I agree it's probably too recent to have a standard style but I don't think your suggestion is better. "topping up" is the usual verb for this, and buying a top up doesn't have quite the same meaning as actually topping up, because the latter implies applying the top up to your account.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 20, 2022 at 11:14

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