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And ‘to make up with someone’.

“to make something up” = to invent something (like a story, or an excuse)
“Did you just make that up?”
“Stop making up excuses”
“My Dad used to tell me bedtime stories. He’d make them up off the top of his head.”

‘to make up with someone’ = to become friends again after an argument
“We fell out with each other, but life’s too short, so we went for a drink and made up with each other”
“Let’s kiss and make up” (for a romantic relationship)


Hi, this is Luke and you’re listening to ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’ and here is I believe phrasal verb number 80 and it is ‘to make something up’, ‘to make something up’ and if you make something up it means you just invent something. You just kind of create something. Usually you can make up a story or make up an excuse.

– Did you MAKE IT UP?

‘To make up a story’, ‘to make up an excuse’, okay? There’s another use of the phrase ‘make up’. We’ll come back to that in a moment. Let’s start with ‘to make something up’ meaning ‘to just create or invent an excuse or story’. For example:

– Why didn’t you do your homework?
– Oh, I’m really sorry. I got kidnapped. Yeah, I got kidnapped in Paris, then like Liam Neeson had to come and save me. So, I’m really sorry. That’s why I didn’t do my homework.

and you’d say:

– Did you just MAKE THAT UP? You just MADE THAT UP, didn’t you?
– No, I didn’t, honestly. I didn’t. It’s true.

for example, or:

– Why didn’t you do your homework?
– Oh, I’m really sorry but my dog ate my textbook.
– Oh, come on! Stop MAKING UP excuses. This is ridiculous.

okay? Or you might say:

– I just MADE UP an example. I just MADE UP… I just MADE IT UP off the top of my head

okay? ‘To make up a story’, like, for example:

– When I was a kid, when I was a child my dad was a great father and he used to read bedtime stories to my brother and me and often he would just MAKE UP the story. Just then and there. He’d just improvise it. He would just MAKE UP the story off the top of his head.

Okay, so that’s ‘to invent something’, ‘to make something up’.

We also would say ‘to make up with someone’, ‘to make up with’. That’s actually a different phrasal verb. You’re getting two for one in this episode because ‘to make something up’ and ‘make up with someone’. So, you’re getting two for one here. Ddouble your money, although you’re not paying any money but anyway. ‘To make up with someone’ is if you’ve had an argument with someone and things have gone rather badly and, can you remember that phrase, ‘you’ve fallen out with someone’, ‘you’ve fallen out with your friend because you’ve had a big argument’ then later on you might, sort of, come back to each other. You just go:

– Look, look mate, I’m really sorry about that argument, you know? You’re a really a good friend. You’re really important to me and don’t want to lose you. I’m really sorry about the things I said. So, can we just MAKE UP and come on, let’s go for a drink. I’ll buy you a pint.

Okay, so…

– What about you and Jeff? Are you still having…you know, are you still not getting on with each other?
– No, now it’s OK. We’ve MADE UP WITH each other. I went and bought him a pint. Well, I had a pint and he just had loads of biscuits. But we’re fine now. We’re good.

So, ‘to make up a story’, ‘to make up with someone’ there you go. Two for one in this episode of ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’ and that’s the end of this one. Speak to you again soon. Don’t forget to visit teacherluke.co.uk where you can sort of read notes and get all the other phrasal verbs and stuff. Almost all of them have got transcripts. So, that’s it. Speak to you again soon. Thanks for listening to ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’. Goodbye.

  • riddle

    I’m gonna treat you a pint for this one. I like to make up some stories and then tell them to my niece. She alwayas listens to them carefully ! When I was in high school I used to make up lots of excuses to avoid papers and other forms of testing knowledge. I guess I was very creative back then. When there’s a will, there’s a skill! My relationship with Oprah has fallen out. But I miss her so much!!:( I’ll try to make up with her! I cannot imagine my life without here !

  • Andrzej

    I gather Jeff’s got back from biscuit rehab eventually but it hasn’t helped? Or maybe he is still there and you’ve just made all that up? Anyway, thank you Luke for carrying on with the series and do not forget to say hello to Jeff when you meet him.

  • Martin

    to make up:

    1/ make up some story.

    In context of this meaning I remember on some story in book and movie as well.
    Do you know the book “Out Of Africa” by Karen Blixen. Also nice movie with Redford and Streep. In some part of the movie, they meet at Karen´s farm in Africa nearby a fireplace inside a house. And Redford encourage her to tell him some story. Karen said, ” just say one sentence and I will continue with story….. I WILL MAKE A STORY UP…. and then we will see….

    nice, magic moment in the book, especially in the movie….


  • Anonymous

    My mind is already made up, I only learn english on my own By using “Luke English Podcast”
    You can imagine how happy I’am when I hear your Voice. You Help me a lot.
    sometime, i feel like you are my best friend because i spend much more time by listening to your Podcast than I spent with my friends. love you so much Luke. God bless you now and always.
    Take Care! :) Badou