eat up

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Senior Member
Ate up means to eat food completely.Although this phrasal verb has many meanings but i'm interested in this only.

I have read a sentence in a school book which i am quoting:

"He saw something on a plant.He ate it up.Oh it was a red chilli."

assuming above sentence to be correct, can i say that he eat my brains up or he eats his lunch up.(though it sounds awfully incorrect).
Would be grateful if someone tries .Thanks in anticipation
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    "To eat something up" highlights the idea that a person ate all of something. It's usually used when referring to a large quantity of food, but not always.

    I agree that saying "He ate it up" doesn't really convey much meaning in your sentence about the red chili. It would tell me more to say "He ate the whole thing". Or even just "He ate it".


    Senior Member
    English - England
    can i say that he eat my brains up or he eats his lunch up
    It doesn't really sound right to use "to eat up" in the present tense, because at this stage you do not know that the person is going to finish all of the food. It sounds better to use the verb in the past tense, because you know that the person ate all of the food.

    For example - say if someone was eating an ice cream at that moment, I would need to use the present tense so I would say "he's eating his ice cream"
    but if he had finished his ice cream and had eaten all of it, for emphasis, I would say "he ate his ice cream up" and it is ok to say this because it happened in the past


    Senior Member
    USA English
    "Eat up" is one of those expressions that I, at least, find hard to pin down. When you get one of these expressions, it's hard to just extend it to every situation.

    If I, for example, put out a large quantity of food for guests, I might say "Eat up!" that doesn't mean that I want them to eat everything, it just means "go ahead and eat."

    Sometimes, the "up" is just redundant as in "he ate it all up." :eek:

    I don't like the sentence in your book since "he ate it" seems to serve quite well.

    Your suggestions sound unnatural, but I cannot quote any particular rule.
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