Make up/ – to reconcile differences with someone (e.g., after an argument)
- After my first big argument with my boyfriend, it took a few days before we were both calm enough to talk about it and make up.
Note: “Make up” with this meaning can be used both with and without an object. In cases where we use an object, it comes after the preposition “with.”
- Why haven’t you made up with Mary yet? She’s your best friend!
Make up for/ – To compensate
- I know from experience that it’s extremely hard to make up for a forgotten anniversary. Flowers, chocolate, and a massage are all good ideas, but they may not be enough!
Note: This phrasal verb can mean to compensate for mistakes, as in the above example, or for something that is missing or lacking, as in the example below:
- No amount of youthful enthusiasm can make up for a lack of experience and savvy on the pitch.
Make … up/ – to invent a story/lie about something
- I couldn’t tell my boss that I was late to the meeting because I overslept, so I made up a story about needing my neighbor’s help to get my car out of the snow.
- He tells lots of interesting stories, but after a while you realize that he’s making them up so that people will think he’s cool.
Note: In its separated form, with the addition of the preposition “to,” this phrasal verb takes on a different meaning:
Make … up to/ – to compensate someone for a mistake
- I’m really sorry I couldn’t go to your concert. I’ll make it up to you by going to the next two, and I’ll bring as many friends as I can!
Still not sure about all of this? Check out our phrasal verbs overview for more information and other practice exercises!