Dry vs dry up

Super Saiyan

Senior Member
Cantonese
Hi, after washing dishes, I say ‘ I need to dry the plates.’ or I need to dry up the plates.’

Do they mean the same? Thanks
 
  • Root of All Things

    New Member
    English - American
    At least in American English, I'd argue:
    "Dry up" is something one does to a liquid, or the liquid does on its own. "The lake dried up" or "The sun dried up the puddles."
    "Dry" is something one does to something with liquid on/in it, or the object does on its own. "The plates dried slowly" or "I dried the dishes."
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Thanks. Please take a look at the verb entry 1.3

    dry | Definition of dry by Lexico
    It says dry up as wipe dishes dry with a cloth

    The reason why I asked was that I also read it in a book. I didnt think it was correct to use dry up. It’s always like what #6 says, so I asked to see how natives think. Is it just uncommon to use it? Or you think the dictionary entry might not be as good? Thanks
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I read the link and it's what I suspected might be at work, they are making an analogy between the common British phrase wash up and dry (up). Look at definition 1.3 under Verb.

    Whether it's used properly, often or never, I can't say, since I am an AE speaker. But even if it is proper in their context, it's not proper in yours because it's a different kind of sentence.

    Quote:

    (also British dry up) Wipe dishes dry with a cloth after they have been washed.​
    ‘‘I'll wash, Sara, you dry’’​

    More example sentences​
    ‘When I helped Gemma to dry up, the tea towel slid on oily cutlery.’​
    ‘Finished painting the conservatory, had something to eat, washed up, dried up, and ironed a top for tomorrow.’​
    ‘‘I'll wash, you dry,’ said Jake, turning on the tap and staring at the water that gushed out.’​
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Thanks, kentix

    "Whether it's used properly, often or never, I can't say, since I am an AE speaker. But even if it is proper in their context, it's not proper in yours because it's a different kind of sentence."

    It's not proper in my context because I am washing my dishes at home, not like a person whose job is washing dishes at a restaurant maybe?

    Because my context is also about drying the plates, bowls, etc. after I finished washing the dishes. So you think dry up can only be used in a workplace?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    No, I mean wash up and dry up are general names for an entire process. See how they are used generally in all three examples?

    Your sentence is about specific items. Your talking about drying up dishes. But as said above, rivers and lakes can be dried up and disappear because they consist of liquid, but it's hard to imagine doing that with dishes. They won't disappear.
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    The entire process that you mean is to try all the plates, cups, bowls, saucers, wok, etc. I can't say "After washing the dishes, I need to dry up (with objects). So I can say "After washing the dishes, I need to try up." Is this sentence fine? Thanks.
     
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    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Like I said, I don't live there so I can't give you a definite answer, but it does fit the sample sentences much better.
     
    Last edited:

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    I did all the cooking, so you can do the drying up.

    We don't need to dry up the dishes in our house - we have one of those new-fangled automatic dishwashers which dries them as well as washes them.

    You wash and I'll dry!
    - (= I will do the drying up of the dishes.)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    We don't need to dry up the dishes in our house
    I don't think I'd include the up.

    Puddles, bread, and fruit dry up (to a final point) (although 'up' is optional and emphatic), and we dry up a liquid spillage (complete removal of the liquid), but we do not have a shower and dry ourselves up. I'm sure there is some explanation, but I can't think of it at the moment.
     
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