I got caught up with

Discussion in 'English Only' started by bis, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. bis Senior Member

    Hi everyone,
    I was talking to one of my american buddies and he went "I got caught up with work" meaning he had to do all the work he couldn't get to do before because of him being sick. Only thing I can't understand is "got" shouldn't it simply be "I caught up with work"? Why did he say got caught up:confused: Thank you.
  2. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Hullo Bis. Yes, you're right: get caught up with and catch up with mean pretty much the same thing. It just sounds like a bit more effort has gone into the first than the second.
  3. bis Senior Member

    Is it the same as I got done with my homework or I got through with my homework? What does "get" exactly stand for here? Because it sounds a bit strange to me.
  4. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    I got caught up with work means that I got so involved with my work that I forgot other things. It's often used as an excuse for not doing something you should have done. Of course, it can happen if you need to catch up on on undone work, but it means something entirely different.
  5. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    caught up with is only used in the past tense - it is an idiom =became entangled, tied up, held back by.It comes from the very old meaning of catch: To fasten, attach (some object) back or up (OED)

    the up is a common part of phrasal verbs - it indicates "completely' or 'to the maximum extent' "He opened the door" with" He opened up the door": in the former, he need only open it a small amount, or simply unlock it; in the latter the door is wide open.

    To catch up is to to move forward from a lower or worse position to a better position; to overtake. i.e. to catch someone/something completely.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  6. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    There's a little confusion here, I think, so that Ewie's reply (post #2) and Exgerman's (post #4) seem to conflict. In my experience, in AE:

    I got caught up with my work [or "in my work"]. = I became involved, tied up, very busy with my work.

    I caught up with my work. = I had fallen behind, but I've worked hard and I'm now on schedule.
  7. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    For me I got caught up with my work can mean both things mentioned by Parla. (My original post #2 mentioned the other meaning ['became involved with'] but as it wasn't relevant I deleted that part:))

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