I go through the different definitions of the phrasal verb, “come up.” [See also: Phrasal verbs with COME UP]


These are all intransitive.

1.   To move towards someone, usually to talk.
  • “Some random person came up to me and asked if I had any cheese.”
  • “It’s really cute when my dog comes up to me for a belly rub.”
2.   To be mentioned or talked about in conversation.
  • “The issue regarding the delivery never came up in the meeting.”
  • “You must really like her. She comes up every time we hung out.”
3.   When something happens unexpectedly and has to be dealt with immediately.
  • “Something came up at home. I have to go.”
  • “If anything comes up, just send me a message.”
4.   When something is about to happen soon.
  • “We should prepare for the busy period (that is) coming up.”
  • “The party’s coming up soon. Have you decided what you’re going to wear?”
5.   When something appears.

This can be used in a few different situations.

a. When the sun or moon rises
  • “Expect the roosters to crow when the sun comes up.”
b. When information appears on something like a computer screen.
  • “Jake’s number came up when my phone rang.”
  • “A pop-up comes up every time I click on this button.”
c. When a plant grows and appears above the ground.
  • “It doesn’t matter what I do, weeds keep coming up.”
  • “Just give it time. The tulips will come up.”
6.   To be tall, deep, or long enough to reach a particular level.
  • “The grass came up to my knees.”
  • “The last time I saw you, you only came up to my waist.”
7.   When a job opportunity becomes available.
  • “A position in the HR department has come up if you’re interested.”
  • “Take it! Opportunities like these don’t come up everyday!”
8.   To become richer, more powerful, or more successful than before.
  • “It’s hard to come up in a dog eat dog world.”
  • “There’re quite a few young ones coming up in the IT industry.”
9.   When someone’s number or name is selected in a lottery or game.
  • “There are certain numbers that always come up in the national lottery.”
  • “I saw your name come up on the game show but realised it was somebody else.”
10.   To travel to a place, either further north or a higher level.
  • “My relatives are coming up from Australia for the wedding.”
  • “Come up to the roof, there’s a better view from here.”
11. A legal case to be dealt with by a court.
  • “The divorce should come up in the next two to three months.”
  • “You have to make a decision before your case comes up for hearing.”

Original list: 8 February 2021