sign up: meaning and explanation

The phrasal verb to sign up for something means to decide to join or participate in something (usually in an official way, e.g. by registering). e.g. I’ve decided to sign up for the gym – it’s time I did some exercise.

We can add an additional object (to sign sb up for sth) if want to describe registering someone else for something. e.g. I’ve signed you up for dancing classes.

We can also use the structure ‘to sign up to do something’ when you want to describe formally agreeing/registering to do something. e.g. I’ve signed up to show new students around the university, so I’m going to be very busy next week.

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: North America

I the course couldn't to sign website.

About the sentence

…I couldn’t work out how to sign up…

Here’s an exercise focussing on the phrasal verb work something out?

Micro-listening #2

Accent: Northern England

I've .
I've of spare time so I as a volunteer school.

About the sentence

…a bit of spare time…

Spare time is the phrase used for any time you have when you are not busy with something else. e.g. If you have some spare time this afternoon, would you mind helping me with something?

Micro-listening #3

Accent: Scotland

. .
My wife to for ballroom dancing lessons. I'm forward to it.

About the sentence

…my wife persuaded me to sign up

Notice the verb pattern to persuade sb to do sth. e.g. I tried to persuade him not to drop out, but I think he’s made up his mind.

Extra practice

Here are some questions/links to help you learn the new vocabulary:

  • What is the last thing you signed up for?
  • Have you ever signed up for something and then regretted it?