'make up' vs. 'make up for'

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Madrid001

Senior Member
Spanish
Hello everyone!

I have doubts as to whether I'm using the phrasal verbs 'make up' and 'make up for' correctly in this type of context:

1. Yesterday you left an hour early so you are going to have to make up the work you didn't finish today. (as in: you are have to work an extra hour today to get everything finished)


2. Yesterday you left an hour early so you are going to have to make up for the work you didn't finish. ( as in: you don't have to make up the work because someone else finished it for you but you still have to compensate us for the trouble).


3. Since yesterday you didn't come to work you are going to have to make up the time. ( as in: you are going to have to stay working late every day for a week)

4. Since yesterday you didn't come to work and we finished the project for you, you are going to have to make up for the time you didn't work. (as in: yesterday we had to work more time to finish you part and you have to compensate us for helping you, maybe doing a bigger part next time we have to do a project).

I know that for example, when using 'make up for', you can't say things like: I have to make up for the test I didn't take last week. Because your not taking the test doesn't really affect anyone.

* All sentences are intended to sound colloquial, the type used in informal speech.

Hope you can tell me if these examples sound fine to you!

Thank you so much for your help in advance! :)
 
  • BLUEGLAZE

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    All of your examples sound fine to me. With the * remark.
    I won't make up for a test as you realize, but I still have to make up the test, i.e. I still have to take it.
     

    meepmeep

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Hello Madrid001,

    Personally I think the context is too loose in 1, 2 and 4 to convey the specific meanings that you have put in brackets. To me, "make up/make up for" mean the same thing here - in 3, the meaning is clear as the sentence specified "make up the time" - if you want to convey that the work has been done already, but you're not letting the person you're speaking to off the hook, perhaps you could say "... you're going to have to make it up to [us, the boss, Bob, etc.]" (but this may sound reproachful, depending on your tone) or "you're going to have to make up for it [in the next project]".

    I know that for example, when using 'make up for', you can't say things like: I have to make up for the test I didn't take last week. Because your not taking the test doesn't really affect anyone.
    This could make sense, for example, if the person was not allowed to sit the test at all:

    A: Why are you suddenly revising so much for this week's test?
    B: I have to make up for the test I didn't take last week (meaning make up the marks that he lost by not taking the test)
     

    Madrid001

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I think in that context meepmeep I would be more inclined to say:

    - I have to make up a test
    - I have to make up for my poor grades

    If someone said to me: I have to make up for the test I didn't take last week.. I would expect the speaker to elaborate on that since I wouldn't understand what he is trying to say..
     
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