What does “show up” mean in English?

Learn how to use this phrasal verb correctly and improve your English. Check it out now!

Hi, in today’s lesson, I want to talk about a phrasal verb that I believe a lot of English students don’t know.

One of my advanced students asked me about this phrasal verb.

So if she doesn’t know the meaning, I think many other students might not know it.

So, let’s start with the traditional meaning of “show up.”

Now, the traditional meaning is to be seen or to be visible.

So, for example: “The infection did not show up in the blood tests.”

In the traditional meaning, it simply means to appear or to be visible.

“The infection was visible in the blood test results.”

Now, “show up” also has a slang meaning, if you will.

Basically, the slang meaning is simply to arrive at a meeting or a gathering.

This can be a formal business meaning or simply a gathering or a get together among friends.

It can be used in both situations. Or, it can be used for almost any event.

One thing to remember, oftentimes we use “show up” when somebody arrives to a meeting or gathering,

when they arrive late or when we are not really expecting them to be there.

Let’s move on to some example sentences now.

“No, Mr. Barnes never showed up for the meeting.”

“I might show up a little bit late. I have some errands to run.”

“We were waiting for over an hour and finally our boss showed up.”

“You’ll never guess who showed up for the party… My old roommate, James!”

“This meeting is mandatory. If you don’t show up, you might be fired.”

So, that was a short explanation of the main meanings of the phrasal verb to show up.

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