#109 – TO PACK UP

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This one is a bit similar to ‘pack in’ but not exactly the same.
1. to put things into a bag or box in order to then take or send them somewhere. E.g. “The workmen packed up their equipment and went home”.
2. When equipment stops working. E.g. “Our dishwasher has packed up again. We’re going to need to ask someone to come and fix it.”
3. To stop doing something, to quit. E.g. “I think I’m going to pack up my job and go travelling.” (this is quite similar to ‘pack in’)


Hello there, you’re listening to “A Phrasal Verb a Day”. My name’s Luke Thompson and this is phrasal verb number 108 [Actually 109]. Now, in number 107 [108], the last one, we had ‘TO PACK IN’ and it means either to stop doing something, like, you know, PACK IT IN, stop doing that, or I’m just going to PACK IN my job, for example, so it means stop doing something or it meant to, kind of, fit things into something like fit lots of people into a room, fit people into a small space, to fit people into a theatre. “Your show is really PACKING IN the audience at the moment. You’re really PACKING people IN”. “We PACKED all the kids INTO the car”. “We managed to PACK everyone IN, then we started off on the journey”. Okay, now, I’m repeating that, those things, because the next one, we’re going to look at, a number 108[109], is PACK UP. It’s kind of similar in some ways but not completely. Let’s see.

So, to PACK UP means to put everything you’ve got into, you know, put all your stuff into a case or into a box or into a bag. Okay? Imagine, for example, you’ve been doing some work, you’ve been doing some… What have you been doing? You’ve been doing some carpentry or decorating work in the house and you’ve finished the work for the day, so you PACK UP and go home. Okay? So, PACK UP there, means you put all the tools back into the box. You put all the equipment away in boxes and bags and then you take it home. So, we PACKED UP. So, by the time I got home to look at the new kitchen the workmen had PACKED UP and gone home. So, put things into a bag or case or whenever so that you can take them or send them somewhere. For example, let’s see. Imagine, if I was selling T-shirts for Luke’s English Podcast, I might have loads of T-shirts in the apartment and every time an order came in, I PACK UP the T-shirts into boxes and then send them to different places around the world. So, that’s one definition.

Another one is… It means that a piece of equipment stops working. For example, “Oh! My camera just PACKED UP”, meaning my camera stopped working. Or something like, “We need to buy a new DVD player, because the old one has just PACKED UP”, meaning the old one has just stop working. It’s kind of … It’s broken, basically, it stopped working. The camera PACKED UP, meaning the camera just stopped working.

So, we also use PACK UP in a similar way to how we use PACK IN, meaning to give something up or to stop doing something. So, you can say, “He’s going to PACK IN his job”. You could also say, “He’s going to PACK UP his job”, as well. I think it’s more common to say “PACK IN your job” than “PACK UP your job”. But, there you go. Alright?

So, I suppose we just saw three things, right? One is to put lots of things into a box or into a bag in order to then take them somewhere or send them somewhere. For example, PACK UP all your equipment. It means that a piece of equipment stops working, because it’s broken like “Oh! My computer’s PACKED UP”. I guess normally we… I guess these days it’s quite rare for your computer to just PACK UP but what, what things would PACK UP? I mean, you know, like a… the dishwasher has PACKED UP, meaning the dishwasher’s broken. It’s not working any more. There you go. And the third one would be to just like stop doing something, a bit like PACK something IN. To PACK something UP meaning you’re going to quit or stop doing it.

Alright? Don’t give up learning English. Don’t PACK IT UP or don’t PACK IT IN. Keep going, because determination is very important and, you know, you’ve got to just keep going even if it’s difficult, even if you’re struggling, don’t PACK it all IN. Just persevere. Keep going and don’t worry if you don’t remember or even understand absolutely every single phrasal verb, for example in this series. Don’t PACK it all IN, just keep going because… even if you remember about thirty percent of these, that’s good. That’s great. Okay? So, the…, sort of, the pass mark, if you consider this to be a course, with the pass level, the pass mark is… It’s not one hundred percent. It’s not even eighty-five percent. I think if you can just pick up in a region of… well, fifty percent, half of these or even a third of these phrasal verbs, I think that’s good. It’s all good, like, whatever you learn, whatever you manage to pick up is going to be good and useful for you. But don’t let the pressure of trying to remember them all stop you from remembering any? Do you understand what that means? So, like even if you just pick up a few, that’s better than nothing, isn’t it? Still, I think you’re perfectly capable of learning them all, and being able to use them all. Don’t forget to use what you’re learning. Alright?

That means that you’ve got to write comments on the website, or just practice using these phrasal verbs in context as much as you can. But that’s it for this episode, this little episode. There’ll be another one coming in your direction very soon. But for now it’s just time to say goodbye.