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 this dictation exercise to hear this phrasal verb being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: English (RP)

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

Discussion questions

Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • Stonehenge is one of the most famous and popular attractions in the UK. However, I’ve noticed that a lot of my students are a bit disappointed when they visit it, because it wasn’t as good as they were expecting – Stonehenge didn’t live up to their expectations. Is there anything in your country that often doesn’t live up to people’s expectations?
  • Can you think of an example of something you experienced recently which was better or worse than you were expecting?

Photo by Ankit Sood on Unsplash

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