Jack eats up his dinner

Eat up your dinner.
Eat your dinner up.

Jack eats up his dinner.

Jack eats his dinner up.

Could we say in these way?


You can say either one, but the word up gives the sentence a colloquial feel. It sounds like something a parent would say to (or about) a child.

I might tell my son:

Jack, you should eat up your broccoli.

but I would probably not say to my boss:

Sir, you should eat up your sandwich.

instead, I’d leave the up out:

Sir, you should eat your sandwich.

This kind of question really makes me empathize with English learners! Here’s why: with the verb eat, adding the word up to make a phrasal verb makes the sentence sound more colloquial. But with the verb finish, adding the word up seems fine.

So, while I have a hard time imagining myself telling my boss:

Katie ate up her lunch.

I have a much easier time imagining myself telling my boss:

Katie finished up her report.

Even when I’m talking about food!

Sir, I’ll send you that spreadsheet right after I finish up my lunch.

If you look carefully in dictionaries, though, you can find small hints about such distinctions. If you look at Macmillan, under eat up, it says:

eat up (phrasal verb) MAINLY SPOKEN to eat all of something

whereas under finish up, it says:

finish up (phrasal verb) same as finish

Collins has an interesting note under eat up as well:

eat up (verb) to eat or consume entirely: often used as an exhortation to children

Source : Link , Question Author : user73963 , Answer Author : J.R.

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