fill in, fill out, and fill up

Sandy_Bella

Senior Member
EsPaÑoL (CaTrACHO)
#1
Hello guys!
I'm reviewing some phrasal verbs and am having
some problems concerning the difference among:
fill in, fill out and fill up.
Would you help me to figure out the difference among them?
I will appreciate it Thanks in advance.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    #2
    Ah, this is hard! I think it mainly has to do with the nature of the preposition. Use fill up when talking about some empty container and you filling the container with something up to the point where putting in more would cause some of that material to fall out. Fill out is mainly used when talking about completing something with information, like a form or a survey. Fill in is the rarest of the three, and it is used when talking about something like bubbling in a circle on an answer sheet for a test.

    If you have seen sentences whose choice of preposition confuses you, please post them as they will help us help you. :)
     
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    zumac

    Senior Member
    USA: English & Spanish
    #3
    "Fill in" is used when you tell someone to enter something (one field) on a form. Example: Fill in your name here.
    It could possibly be more than one field, but generally not the entire form. Example: Fill in your name here, and you phone number over here.

    "Fill out" is generally used when you tell someone to enter all the fields on a form of more than one field. Example: Please fill out this form.

    "Fill up" has many uses, like:
    Fill up this box with those books.
    Fill up my tank with premium gasoline.
    Fill up this jar with drinking water.

    Note: I have replied to your three questions although the rules of the forum state that there should only be one question per thread. Please read the rules.

    Saludos.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:
    #4
    To add to previous answers:

    Fill in means to supply something that's missing. So you fill in the blanks on a test, for example, or you can fill in a triangle with a color (change it from an outline to a solid triangle by coloring inside it), or you can fill in (substitute) for an absent colleague at work. And you can fill in a form because you're supplying missing information.

    Fill out means to complete by supplying requested information.

    So you can fill in Form 195B (I get a mental picture of a form with blanks to write numbers or small bits of data) or fill it out (could be either a form with blanks or one that asks for longer answers). Those mental pictures aren't the only possibilities, but you can see why both phrases work.

    Fill up means to make full. You fill up containers with liquid, for example, or you fill up your stomach with junk food. If you fill up a form, you've used all the available space on it and have to ask for another sheet of paper. :)
     

    Seikun

    Senior Member
    Chile - Castellano
    #5
    I just knew the meaning of fill in. Now I have a doubt. What is the difference among these three forms and the verb to fill?

    Thanks.
     
    #9
    To add to previous answers:

    Fill in means to supply something that's missing. So you fill in the blanks on a test, for example, or you can fill in a triangle with a color (change it from an outline to a solid triangle by coloring inside it), or you can fill in (substitute) for an absent colleague at work. And you can fill in a form because you're supplying missing information.

    Fill out means to complete by supplying requested information.

    So you can fill in Form 195B (I get a mental picture of a form with blanks to write numbers or small bits of data) or fill it out (could be either a form with blanks or one that asks for longer answers). Those mental pictures aren't the only possibilities, but you can see why both phrases work.

    Fill up means to make full. You fill up containers with liquid, for example, or you fill up your stomach with junk food. If you fill up a form, you've used all the available space on it and have to ask for another sheet of paper. :)
    In the case of fill in:
    Fill your name in here
     
    United States - English
    #11
    I just knew the meaning of fill in. Now I have a doubt. What is the difference among these three forms and the verb to fill?

    Thanks.
    Fill can be used in similar situations as described above for fill up, but never for fill in or fill out, which require the prepositions for their meaning. You can either fill a container or fill up a container. The "up" just emphasizes that you fill it completely, rather than only partially. You can't, however, *fill a form.
     

    Seikun

    Senior Member
    Chile - Castellano
    #12
    Fill can be used in similar situations as described above for fill up, but never for fill in or fill out, which require the prepositions for their meaning. You can either fill a container or fill up a container. The "up" just emphasizes that you fill it completely, rather than only partially. You can't, however, *fill a form.
    Thank you very much!
     
    #13
    Recently, I was surfing the web for random topics that I could read, and I came across a document from an Indian Government, which looks like a guideline for passport application. I was carefully scanning the document when I incidentally spotted some noticeable errors. I was shocked to read some grammatical errors , specifically on the use of the word fill up, from an official government document. Here are the sentences that were incorrectly written:
    Please follow the instructions as given in Column 2.1 of Section B for filling up details in this column.

    Leave one box blank after each complete word, while filling up the boxes.

    Particulars given in the application form will be printed in the passport booklet. Therefore, you must be careful in filling up the Application Form and submit the form without mistakes. The applicant shall be held responsible for any mistake in the application
    form submitted.

    This incorrect-use-of-fill-up problem is common even among Filipinos. I remember myself hearing a lot of fill-up lines from different people. =)


    “Sir, paki fill up-an na lang po ang form na ito.” [“Sir, please fill up this form.”]

    …and the likes… :)

    Because of this confusion that seems to be everywhere, I thought of discussing about when to use fill in, fill out, and fill up.


    Ah, this is hard! I think it mainly has to do with the nature of the preposition. Usefill up when talking about some empty container and you filling the container with something up to the point where putting in more would cause some of that material to fall out. Fill out is mainly used when talking about completing something with information, like a form or a survey. Fill in is the rarest of the three, and it is used when talking about something like bubbling in a circle on an answer sheet for a test.
    Well, we know they have to do with spacial referencing, so what about?


    FILL UP:
    vb (adverb)
    1. (tr) to complete (a form, application, etc)
    2. to make or become completely full

    noun
    3. the act of filling something completely, esp the petrol tank of a car
    It means to make full or fill a container (or anything) with something up.

    Examples:

    The gasoline boy filled up the tank with gasoline.
    Mom said, “Don’t
    fill up your stomach with junk food!”

    SPATIAL REFERENCING :
    Vertical
    fill up
    EX: Don’t fill (your stomach) up on sweets – we’re going to eat dinner soon.
    EX: Could you fill my car up with gas, please?
    EX: Fill up my coffee cup, would ya?

    Note 1: Fill can also be used as a substitute for fill up. We can say “You fill up the container with water.” or “You fill the container with water.” The only difference is that when you say fill up, you really mean to say to make the container full, and when you say fill, you just mean to fill the container, not necessarily full.

    Note 2: Saying “fill up the form” for the purpose of telling to write the needed information on the form is incorrect. When you said “fill up the form”, it means you’ve used all the available spaces on the form and you need to ask for another sheet of paper. :)

    FILL IN:
    It is used to mean these:

    • supply something that’s missing.
    • enter something (one field or a few fields only; not the whole form) on a form.
    • substitute for an absent colleague at work.
    Phrasal Verb (Thefreedictionary.com) :

    1. To write information in (a blank space, as on a form).
    2. To write in (information) in a blank space.
    3. Informal To provide with information thatis essential or newly acquired: I wasn’t there—would you fill me in?
    4. To act as a substitute; stand in: an understudy who filled in at the last minute.

    SPATIAL REFERENCING :
    Horizontal
    fill in and fill out
    EX: Please fill in or fill out this form.
    EX: Gee, I better cut back on the sweets. I’m starting to fill out (i.e., gain weight).

    Examples:

    “Please fill in the name field on this form.”

    “Please fill in the blanks on the Test A of your exam.”


    FILL OUT:
    Phrasal Verb (Thefreedictionary.com):

    1. To complete (a form, for example) byproviding required information: carefully filledout the job application.
    2. To become or make more fleshy: He filled outafter age 35.

    It means to complete a form or a survey by supplying the needed information. To create a comparison between fill in and fill out, make a mental picture of a form with a few blank fields only (e.g. a document with name and date blank fields (only) on its top portion), we should say “Please fill in your name and the date today on that document.”, on the other hand, make a mental picture of a document full of blanks and fields, we should say “Please fill out the document and send to me after you are done with all the information being asked.”

     
    Bulgarian
    #14
    This is an old thread, but I keep coming across websites, where instead of "fill in", just "fill" is used, examples:

    Please fill the beneficiary address field.
    Please fill the amount field.

    Also, no comma is used after "Please".

    Is this ever correct? I am getting confused.
     

    Oujmik

    Senior Member
    UK
    British English
    #15
    This is an old thread, but I keep coming across websites, where instead of "fill in", just "fill" is used, examples:

    Please fill the beneficiary address field.
    Please fill the amount field.

    Also, no comma is used after "Please".

    Is this ever correct? I am getting confused.
    To omit the comma is very common, in fact it's probably more common than including it.

    The use of fill rather than 'fill in' could just be a reflection of the 'international' nature of the English language. To be honest, 'fill' is perfectly clear and only native speakers are likely to be bothered by the lack of phrasal verb.
     
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