live up to: meaning and explanation

to live up to something is a useful phrasal verb to talk about your reaction to something, specifically to say whether it was better or worse than you were expecting or hoping.

There are a few ways you can use this (and similar) expressions, depending on how you feel:

The film didn’t live up to my expectations = the film was worse than I was expecting

The film lived up to my expectations = the film was as good as I was expecting

The film exceeded my expectations = the film was better than I was expecting.

You can also use this phrasal verb to ask someone what they thought of something, and how their opinion compared to their expectations. e.g. How was the meal last night? Did it live up to your expectations?

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Micro-listening #1

Accent: English (RP)

. .
The film disappointing . didn't expectations.
The film a bit disappointing . It didn't really up to expectations.

Micro-listening #2

Accent: Northern England

Luke .

Luke is haunted that he never his father's .

Luke is haunted the that he never up his father's .

About the sentence

…Luke is haunted…

If something is haunted, it means that is is visited by ghosts.

When we describe a person as haunted, it means that they are worried or upset because they are thinking about negative experiences or memories from the past, such as regrets, disappointments or failures. 

Micro-listening #3

Accent: North America

? ?

the concert the other day? Did it your ?

How the concert you to the other day? Did it up to your ?

About the sentence

…the other day…

The other day is a really useful time expression which you can use when you want to talk about something that happened recently, but it isn’t important (or you don’t know) when exactly. e.g. Something strange happened to me the other day…


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