fill up

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In the following sentence, what does ' fill up' mean?

A few days later her lungs seemed to fill up.Her urine stopped.
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    It means to fill up with liquid -- as happens with pneumonia. Just like you fill up a bottle or a car's gas/petrol tank.

    If you put fill up in the WR dictionary, you'll find several threads on "fill up," although I haven't read them, which is why I supplied the answer here.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Just wanted to add that the up as a particle in a phrasal verb frequently means completely: as in drink up your soup or drink your soup up. So here, it means 'fill completely' - with liquid, as Copyright mentioned. Sometimes it is emphatic, as in finish up.


    A few days later her lungs seemed filled up. Her urine stopped.

    I would use FILLED UP instead of FILL UP. So, why fill up?

    Thank you.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Hello, 1 Vic. You'll notice that your first sentence used a preposition: A few days later her lungs seemed to fill up. Her urine stopped.

    So, we used an infinitive after the verb "seemed", which was in the past. This is the right way to use it:

    A few days later her lungs seemed to fill up.

    If you used the verb by itself, then you would write it as you suggested in your last post:

    A few days later her lungs filled up.
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