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

Listening exercises

Dictation #1

Accent: North America

I wasn't to go to so I excuse work.

About the sentence

…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?

Dictation #2

Accent: Scotland

Available soon

Dictation #3

Accent: Ireland

Available soon

Was this helpful?