to turn up: meaning and explanation
The phrasal verb ‘to turn up’ is used to say that someone or something arrived or appeared unexpectedly.
Imagine you’re getting married, and one of your relatives comes to the wedding without being invited. You would say that they turned up.
If we use this phrasal verb in the negative (e.g. my friend didn’t turn up) then it has the opposite meaning – we were expecting someone, and they didn’t come. Imagine you’re late for work because you were waiting for a bus which didn’t arrive when you expected it to. You would tell your boss that the bus didn’t turn up on time.
Have a go at this dictation exercise to hear this phrasal verb being used in context – how much can you understand?
Accent: North America
Dictation #2 // Accent: Ireland
Dictation #3 // Accent: Northern England
…she must have forgotten…
We use the structure ‘she must have forgotten’ because we are speculating – we don’t know for certain that our friend forgot, but it is a strong possibility. If we say ‘she forgot’, then we know for certain that this is true.
Dictation #4 // Accent: Scotland
This clip is from an episode of the Mountain podcast. The speaker lives on a very remote farmhouse in the Scottish highlands, and is often visited walkers who have got lost.
Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:
- Have you ever turned up at a party or event without being invited?
- Think of a time that you waited ages for a friend who didn’t turn up – what was their excuse?
- Write a very short story about someone arriving or appearing unexpectedly somewhere. Make it interesting and memorable.
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