English learning tips

“Do You Want To Hook Up With Your Friends Tonight?”

Don’t worry, this ‘hook up with’ lesson is quite innocent

After yesterday’s tip, I received some cracking emails.

And I want to share one of them with you right now because it made me laugh out loud.

But there’s also a valuable lesson in it, too.

This is another story about phrasal verbs, and it comes from an English learner (and teacher) from Mongolia named Bayarmaa.

Bayarmaa uses movies to learn English – especially vocabulary, and one day she decided to try using movies to learn phrasal verbs.

So, while she was watching a movie, she noted down the phrasal verb “to hook up with somebody”. She Googled it and found that it means “to meet and spend time with someone”… Very innocent, right?

So, she decided to try using “to hook up with” in a conversation with her son. She said:

“Do you want to hook up with your friends tonight?”

Her son, who is fluent in English, just looked her and said “Whaaat?!” and laughed!

Do you know why her son laughed?

Well, the definition that Bayarmaa found wasn’t totally complete. It was missing an essential part:

‘To hook up with someone’ can mean to spend time with someone. BUT, it can also mean ‘to have sex‘ with someone… In fact, this meaning is probably more common.

So Bayarmaa’s son understood the question a little bit differently to what Bayarmaa had intended.

It’s a funny, yet innocent mistake to make.

But it’s also an important reminder that phrasal verbs can be dangerous and should be handled with care.

And if you want to make sure that you’re using phrasal verbs correctly, you should either:

  1. Research them thoroughly.
  2. Ask a native speaker or someone whose advice you trust.

Speaking of #2 (asking a native speaker or someone you trust), tomorrow I’m going to be doing a live English question and answer session in the English For Study Facebook group.

Want in?

You can join here: https://englishforstudy.com/facebook/

I don’t let just anyone in, though.

You need to be an active English learner and not a beginner.

If you fit that description, click here and join us:



English For Study

Ps. Do you have any ideas what ‘cracking‘ means in the first sentence? Here’s a tip… it’s an informal word used in the UK.

Pps. The English Temperature Check will be going up in price soon. I know I’ve not told you much about it in the emails yet. Have a look at this page, if you want to know more about it.

Ppps. A lot of these today… I know, but if you want to read Bayarmaa’s story in full, check it out here.

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