#101 – TO OPEN UP

Small Donate Button[Download] This is an extra-long episode of APVAD because this phrasal verb has quite a lot of different meanings. Here are 10 definitions, with examples, of this commonly occurring phrasal verb. Use “A Phrasal Verb A Day” to really enrich your vocabulary. Tell you friends and share the knowledge.


Hello, my name’s Luke Thompson. You’re listening to ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’ and this is phrasal verb number 101. It’s yet another slightly unprepared and yet effective episode of this free podcast which is called ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’ which you can use to expand your vocabulary and it’s absolutely free. That’s right. It is free. Tell your friends about ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’. Why don’t you? Don’t keep it a secret. These things don’t stay secret for a long. Eventually, the news will spread and everyone in the known world and maybe even in the unknown world will be using ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’ so, you know, be the one to tell your friends. You can say ‘I liked it before it went commercial’ and you can have that smug satisfaction of being the one who was the first one to listen to ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’ but hurry up because it’s catching on and more and more people are into it. Do you see the way the phrasal verbs just flow here at Phrasal Verb a Day? They do. Anyway, ‘to catch on’ that’s not the phrasal verb I’m teaching you in this episode, no. This one, in fact, is ‘to open up’, ‘open up’ and it’s got a few different meanings. In fact, we’re going to look at something in the range of ten different meaning, so this is one of those extra super special phrasal verbs, the ones that you might hear quite a lot.

So, we’ve got diverse meanings including things like, basically, ‘to open a building’, ‘to open a door’, ‘to open something that was locked previously’, right? It’s the opposite of ‘to lock something up’, you know?

– Don’t forget to lock up the shop when you leave this evening

meaning ‘to close all the doors and lock them’, OK? And then in the morning you come to the shop and you open it up. Well, you open up shop or open the shop up, OK? So, you know

– Yeah, I arrived at about 6:30 in the morning, opened the shop up, opened up the till and, you know, entered some… put some cash in the till and then we were ready to start doing business

‘to open up’, OK? Open up the…, you know, you might say:

– Open up the safe and give me all the money

if you’re robbing a bank which you shouldn’t do, of course, unless you absolutely have to, in which case you should use phrasal verbs probably. They’re a bit more dynamic and slightly more appropriate for a bank robbery. You shouldn’t be using extra, very formal language when you’re robbing banks.

– Excuse me, I would greatly appreciate it if you would provide me, furnish me with the total sum of all assets in this establishment

No, that’s not the language of bank robberies.

– Put your hands up! Open up the safe! Give me all the money!

you know,

– Don’t try anything funny!

you know, that would be the sort of thing that you would do in a bank robbery. Not that you should be doing bank robberies. I don’t need to tell you that. I’m sure that you well-aware of that fact already. That’s only the first one: ‘to open something that’s locked’.

The next one is to sort of make business easier in a place, maybe to make travel and business easier in a place, OK? So, if you can imagine someone giving a business presentation saying:

– I think that the plans, the plans to cut down the forest here in this rural, beautiful rural area, the plans we have to cut down the forest and to install a brand new motorway and train network will really open up this region for development, for new businesses, for new residences and all sorts of other opportunities for the future, so we think that the destruction of the general environment is going to be key to opening up this business to… opening up this area to businesses which are owned by all of our friends. Thank you very much.

So, ‘to open something up’. You can see that? The land was opened up to business by building a new road. I hope you realise that often in these episodes I’m sort of joking. Some of my examples are a little bit ridiculous. I hope you pick up on that. I’m just trying to make you laugh but there’s nothing wrong with that, as far as I know, it’s not a crime, not where I am anyway.

The number three, this means, well, to create new opportunities. It’s similar to the last one but it could be more personal, for example, let’s see:

– Joining that company really opened up lots of new possibilities for me

you know,

– Joining this new companies is really going to open up lots of new avenues for my future career because there are so many opportunities in this new company.

– It has really opened things up for me

meaning ‘giving me more opportunities’, alright? You know:

– New opportunities for investment, new markets are opening up every single day so why don’t you go out and buy some shares in our company

Yeah, I don’t know why all of the examples in this one have a kind of business sales focus but they just do.

The fourth one, fourth definition of this is to create a difference between people or groups involved in something, for example: ‘to open up divisions’, ‘to open up rivalries’ maybe, OK? So, for example, the…, oh!, for example… maybe I shouldn’t talk about it because it’s a bit controversial but things like terrorist attacks or violent attacks in various parts of the world often will open up tensions between different factions in society. There you go. All right.

So, The fifth one. You might say that conversation or discussion opens up meaning that it gets wider. You end up talking about bigger, broader things. You know, for example:

– We started talking about my nephew’s school and we ended up talking about, you know, education and education reform and then the conversation opened up to just, you know, general philosophy and politics and in the end we ended up talking about life, the universe and everything. So, the conversation really opened up after we’d had a few glasses of wine

you could say.

Number six, to talk more about… to become more personal, to start revealing more of your personal feelings, you know, like:

– He can be a little bit shy but I’m a bit worried about him so have a word, you now, talk to him, see if you can find out what’s troubling him. You know, he’s a bit shy at the beginning but after a while he should open up, okay? You know, go to the pub, have a pint of beer and, you know, see if he’ll open up and share his feelings with you.

So, ‘to open up’, there you go, ‘just share your feelings’. Okay.

Number seven, well, OK, ‘to start shooting a gun’, for example:

– The helicopters narrowly escaped being hit when enemy guns opened up as they flew in.

So, to mean ‘to start shooting’

– The anti-aircraft guns opened up again at 4 AM this morning as another bombing raid was sent out across the city. Scenes here are one(s) of devastation as people pick their way through the remains of many broken buildings

You know, yeah, OK? There you go. It’s just an example of a… sort of the BBC news report or something. What else have we got? Okay, to like, to literally open up someone’s body to… in an operation like a surgical operation, you know, like if someone’s been brought into the operating theatre, if you’ve got…, it’s a dramatic scene, you’ve got doctors there and the doctors are like – OK, alright, has he been given the medication? Is he fully anesthetized? Okay! Open him up boys – Alright, they wouldn’t say ‘open him up boys’. Of course they wouldn’t say that in a doctors’ surgery. But anyway if you’re talking about surgery you could say:

– Yeah, they had to open him up and remove the infected appendix because it could’ve caused appendicitis. It could’ve caused peritonitis or something so they had to open him up and remove the infected area

alright? There you go. Open someone up literally in terms of their body in autopsy (operation).

– We’re going to have to open you up and take a look inside, am afraid.

It’s a sort of thing a doctor would say casually

– Oh, let’s have a little look here. Ooo yes, OK.

As the doctor inspects you

Mhmm, okay, right. Well, I think, to be honest, I think we’re going to have to open you up and have a look inside

and you go ‘Oh, God! They going to have to operate. Oh, dear!’

OK, number nine. You can… a business can open up like a new building or a business or a shop could open up meaning it first starts doing business with the public. It opens its doors…

– I see a new bookshop’s opened up on the corner. That’s nice, isn’t it? It’s like a cafe bookshop where you can go and read nice books and drink good coffee and the cool thing about it is in the evening it turns into like this groovy sort of cafe bar place where they have live music and stand-up comedy and poetry readings. It sounds like a brilliant place and it’s just opened up on the corner, just down the road

for example. By the way, if anyone is thinking of starting a business why don’t you do that one, because there aren’t enough of those any more. Cafes, they have libraries in them where you can get food and cakes and stuff but at night it’s a bar and they do live music like folk music and stand-up comedy. It would be perfect, wouldn’t it? Maybe I should do that call it ‘Luke’s Cafe’, he, he, he. (It) should have a cooler name than that maybe. OK, so ‘to open up a new business’. OK.

OK, literally something can spread out or unfold, that’s the final definition of ‘open up’, meaning, like, for example a flower, you know, you pick a flower and the bud of the flower slowly opens up and reveals its beautiful colored flower and the beautiful petals underneath. You know, you might open up a chair, for example, open up an umbrella when it starts raining. Really that just means ‘open’. It’s just another way of saying ‘open’, I suppose but unfold, open out, spread out.

And then also ‘open up’ is just a phrase:

– Open up!

meaning ‘Open the doors!’ like if, you know, if, let’s say, the police turn up at your door because you’ve been caught, you know, robbing a bank, and you’ve escaped to a safe house and the police track you to the safe house and… knock, knock, knock – Open up! It’s the police! – you know, that sort of thing. Yeah. I don’t know, to be honest, if the police in the UK would actually say ‘Open up!’. I don’t think they would. They probably… maybe they’d knock on the door – Who is it? – I don’t know. Would they say ‘It’s the police!’, ‘Police’? I don’t know. I’ve never been a police officer so I don’t have that kind of confidence that a police officer would have. How would a police officer answer the door (knock, knock, knock) or respond to being at the door? (knock, knock, knock) – Aa! Yeah, just a second – (knock, knock, knock) – Yeah, who is it? – It’s the police. Open up please, sir – He, he, he, I don’t know if the police actually call you ‘sir’ but it feels like they do – Open up, open up the doors, please, sir! We’ve a reason to believe that you may be in possession of a large bag of money which was taken illegally from the bank earlier this morning – I don’t know if police always do speak like that but they certainly… it seems to be a stereotype – The police… – it is almost like the BBC voice. They’ve got their own, sort of, register, their own kind of style of English, haven’t they, when reporting things – I approached the property approximately sixteen hundred hours upon reaching the door I rapped on the outside of the door with my knuckles three times producing a loud noise which alerted the resident, the suspect who was within the building allegedly and who then rapidly opened the door and then I made the arrest. Some physical violence was necessary. I did have to smother the suspect but we brought him under control with the use of a cricket bat and we believe that a conviction is on the cards.

OK, that’s the end of this extremely long episode of ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’. They’re not normally this long. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it and I hope you find it useful. May I just remind you that you can contribute to my endeavours by leaving a donation. Just go to teacherluke.co.uk and you will find little yellow buttons that say ‘Donate’. There’s always one in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen and usually one under the media player where you can listen to these episodes. Just click on that if you fancy it, if you want to pay me back for this work, reward me for it, then you can. Just leave a small donation. It’s up to you how much you give. You can give a billion pounds or you can give no pounds or one pound. It’s up to you completely, OK. Good. Thanks very much for listening to the show. Keep in touch and tell your friends about ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’. That’s the end of this episode, bye!