What is a phrasal verb “Get up”?

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A phrasal verb, such as to ‘get up’,  contains two or more words, a verb along with other elements of language. While listening to a native English speaker, you will encounter one of these three Phrasal Verb linguistic structures (word orders):

     Verb + Adverb (example: break down)

     Verb + Preposition (example: see to)

     Verb + Adverb + Preposition (example look down on)

The Adverbs related to these structures (word orders) are referred to as Adverbs of Manner because they appear after the verb and describe how the Verb is carried out. 

A few common examples of the Adverb + Verb structure are touching gently, walking slowly, speaking loudly, and getting up (the subject of today’s lesson). 

What is an adverb?

An Adverb describes a Verb. 

Interestingly, Adverbs usually end with ly, but this is a soft rule and is OFTEN broken with phrases such as “get up.” In this example, “up” is an adverb. For more on Prepositions, check out our previous lesson. 

The adverb used in today’s lesson is an Adverb of Manner.  It’s important to remember that Adverbs in Phrasal Verbs and Adverbs of Manner are ALWAYS placed after the Verb. Here are a few examples of Adverbs of Manner, “well,” “badly,” “hard,” “fast,” “softly” and “away.” There are many more as well.

Correct use of the phrasal verb “get up” in a full sentence

In English, “get up” is the most common way of saying get into a standing position. Often, this Phrasal Verb is used as an idiom for waking up. For example, I get up at 8 AM.  By saying this, the speaker is telling the listener that they wake up and get out of bed at 8 in the morning. 

Another example, “Get up and go to school”. By saying this, the speaker is telling the listener to get out of bed and go to school.

Image representation of the above example for Phrasal Verb

What is meant by “get up”

The word “get” is a Verb.
In a literal sense, it means to obtain something. For example, “Get me a drink” In this sentence the speaker wants someone to obtain a drink for them. But, in the sentence “Get up, you’re late,” nothing is obtained. The word becomes abstract.

To clarify, by diction (in the dictionary), “get” and  “up” means to obtain above, which isn’t logical but creative. And so, the phrase is simply a way in which native English speakers use language creatively. 

Interestingly, “up,” among other things, is a preposition. It’s not possible to “get (hold)” a preposition. Yet, the English language SOMETIMES uses “up” and “down” in an abstract manner. 

The antonym(opposite) of “get up” is get down. Another confusing but useful English saying.

Examples of the Phrasal Verb “get up”

She missed the train because she got up late.

Elain is always the first to get up, among the children.

Let’s practice 

Q1: Try and make your own sentence.

Q2: What time do you get up on weekends? 

Q3: What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

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