make up: meaning and explanation

The phrasal verb to make something up means to invent or create a story or an excuse.

You might make something up for harmless reasons, e.g. The children wouldn’t go to sleep until I made up a story for them about a cat and a teapot.

Or you might make something up in order to deceive or trick someone. e.g. Eventually, the man confessed to making the whole story up in an attempt to become famous.

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

Dictation #1

Accent: North America

I wasn't to go to so I excuse work.
I wasn't in the to go to the so I made an excuse about to work.

…I wasn’t in the mood

If you are not in the mood for something or not in the mood to do something, then you don’t feel like doing it, or don’t really want to do it. e.g. I’m not in the mood for a big night out, can we stay in instead?

Discussion questions

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

  • When was the last time you made up an excuse to avoid doing something?
  • When you were a child, did you ever make up games to play? Can you remember any of them?

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