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"Run Out" Versus "Run Up": What's the Difference?

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Tue, Jul 09, 2013 @ 10:32 AM

run out English phrasal verbHere's a great phrasal verb question that you are probably asking yourself: What is the difference between "run out" and "run up"?

In today's lesson you will learn the difference between the two phrasal verbs and how to use them.

Take a look at the picture on the right. Here is a sample sentence:

We ran out of gas when we were 5 miles from home.




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#1) Run Out


  • empty fridgeMeaning: When we "run out" of something, we have no more of that thing. We can "run out" of milk, eggs, gas in the car or socks to wear on our feet.

  • Grammar tip: This is an inseparable phrasal verb- that means that you can't put the object between the two parts of the verb. "Run" and "out" must always stay together.

  • Examples: "We ran out of gas when we were two miles away from the gas station." or "Let's buy bread before the big storm so that we don't run out."




#2) Run Up


  • run up a billMeaning: "Run up" means to accumulate something large. We can "run up" a bill at the restaurant or we can run up debt on our credit card.

  • Grammar tip: This verb cannot be separated. You must keep "run" and "up" together

  • Examples: "We ran up a 100-dollar bill at the fancy restaurant." or "I have run up $7,000 in credit card debt."







Photo credits: hykyu, sercasey, Lars Plougmann

Topics: Phrasal Verbs

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