My English exercise book has a paragraph talking about friendship like this:

Meeting old school friends again can be a strange experience. Some have changed so much that you can hardly recognise: they speak with a different accent , are interested in different things and all you can do is make small talk and hope they'll go soon. Others, though you might have been out of touch with them for years, are just the same as they always were - it's as if you last saw them yesterday

Before you know it, you are exchanging words about your families and friends, and setting out the pieces for another game of chess. A few change for the better. There's one person that I get on with very well now, thought we weren’t on speaking terms for our last two years at school. One day, we met at a party and made it up and got engaged the same evening.

Source: Language In Use

The meaning of "make it up", as I look up in the Longman dictionary, is "to become friendly with someone again after you have had an argument". However, that meaning does not seem to fit in the last sentence of the second paragraph. Am I wrong and could you suggest its correct meaning in this context?

4 Answers 4


It, in fact, precisely reflects its meaning! As you read, 'make it up' with someone means to become friendly with someone AGAIN

Check the previous sentence... they weren't talking earlier.

".....thought [sic] we weren’t on speaking terms for our last two years at school."

They weren't on speaking terms means they did not talk to each other for the said period.

  • 1
    Maulik, Dear: You didn't talk to him for the said period means that either it was by chance that you didn't talk to him or it was due to any anger, disagreement, or argument between you and him. On the other hand, the idiom "not on speaking terms" is used only in the latter sense.
    – Khan
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 10:25
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    said period means 'two years' as the sentence reads. And 'latter sense', which sense? The sentence is clear as a crystal.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 11:46
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    Maulik, I have written two senses, the first is you didn't talk to him by chance and the second is you didn't talk to him due to some anger, disagreement, or argument between you and him. The idiom not on speaking terms is used in the latter sense.
    – Khan
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 18:19

The phrase "make it up" fits well in the last sentence.

When you say that you are not on speaking terms with somebody, it means you don't speak with him because you are angry with him. Maybe, there was a quarel with him. If you make it up now, it means that you anger doesn't stay any longer and you become friendly with him again.


In no. 7 of the entry make up of Longman DCE titled "time/work" we have the sentence "I'm trying to make up the time I lost while I was sick". - Here one might say "to make up" has the sense of "to make good".

One might say this sense is also in "to make it up with someone (after a quarrel).


That last sentence looks very strange.

Technically we might say that all the answers are correct, but as the source is entitled "Language In Use.."

"Made it up" or "Make it up" is normally unidirectional - a one way exchange, that is to say "He forgot their anniversary, but he made it up to her when.." [He is fixing]


"Her employers had cut her working hours short, but they made it up to her when sales improved again" [The employers are fixing]

We normally cut the "it" out when there is more than one "it," that is to say.. a two-way exchange. If two people are arguing "they make up" or "they made up."

In rogermue's example "make it up with" the 'with' allows the 'it' to be 'bidirectional'

The other odd thing about that last sentence.. is that nobody ever comes engaged. They become engaged or they became engaged.

  • The phrase "came engaged" is my mistake. I believe it should be "got engaged" and I already edited the last sentence.
    – doquan0
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 2:09

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