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  1. #1
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    Default ...for being up to no good

    Hi teachers,

    Can u explain what does "up to no good" mean?

    u may hear a lot of "no good" in a basketball game,i know what it means.

    "up to no good " sounds like something negative but i know it's not. please give some examples for using this expression. Thank you!


  2. #2
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    Default Re: ...for being up to no good

    Quote Originally Posted by amigo
    Hi teachers,

    Can u explain what does "up to no good" mean?

    u may hear a lot of "no good" in a basketball game,i know what it means.

    "up to no good " sounds like something negative but i know it's not. please give some examples for using this expression. Thank you!

    You are right. It does have a negative ring to it.
    It means that in the back of your mind you are thinking of and planning on doing something bad or mischevious, harmful, etc

    ex.
    Look at those three kids in the last row laughing and throwing things at the girls instead of listening to the teacher. It's always the same bunch and we all know they are up to no good.

    The man in the black coat was acting suspiciously around the cash register. The owner of the store told us the guy was up to no good and we should keep an eye on him. He was caught stealing from a store across the street.

    Stacey, I don't want you dating that man. He never shaves, his body stinks to high heaven, his friends look like Hell's Angels bikers and I have never seen him look for employment once! Where do you think he gets his money? You know he is up to know good so, please, don't do it!

    Hope it helps.

  3. #3
    Mister Micawber's Avatar
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    Default Re: ...for being up to no good

    It means that in the back of your mind you are thinking of and planning on doing something bad or mischevious, harmful, etc.
    Or it means that you are actually in the process of doing something bad, etc. 'If you see a man in the bank wearing a mask and pointing a gun at a teller, you know he is up to no good.'

  4. #4
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    Default Re: ...for being up to no good

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Micawber
    Or it means that you are actually in the process of doing something bad, etc. 'If you see a man in the bank wearing a mask and pointing a gun at a teller, you know he is up to no good.'
    Hopefully you have enough time to think that...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: ...for being up to no good

    As Marilyn and Mr M said, but adding that the base of the expression is "up to something" and means "in the process of doing/planning something".

    "I know he's up to something because I saw him going into the jewlers shop twice this week."

    He could be planning a robbery, planning to buy a present for some, having an affair, etc. The key is that something quite secretive is happening.

    "Hi! What are you up to these days?"

    A common expression that is similar to "What are you doing at present?" (work, study, etc.)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: ...for being up to no good

    If someone asks you how you've been doing,and u reply "been up to no good"

    does that mean you're planning or doing something bad?

  7. #7
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: ...for being up to no good

    Quote Originally Posted by amigo
    If someone asks you how you've been doing,and u reply "been up to no good"

    does that mean you're planning or doing something bad?
    Yep. It does seem unlikely tho that someone would say that about himself.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: ...for being up to no good

    the reason i'm asking is that i was looking at a section about small talk in "Everyday American English Expressions" by publisher NTC.
    It has a list of replies to " Telling how you have been doing - positive"

    keeping busy
    keeping myself busy
    been keeping myself busy
    keeping out of trouble
    been keeping out of trouble
    been up to no good (informal)
    been keeping my nose clean (informal)

    Under "Telling how you have been doing - negative", you can find

    not good
    not so good
    not too good
    none too good
    ....

    I mean "been up to no good" doesn't sound positive to me,why they would put it here

  9. #9
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: ...for being up to no good

    Quote Originally Posted by amigo
    the reason i'm asking is that i was looking at a section about small talk in "Everyday American English Expressions" by publisher NTC.
    It has a list of replies to " Telling how you have been doing - positive"

    keeping busy
    keeping myself busy
    been keeping myself busy
    keeping out of trouble
    been keeping out of trouble
    been up to no good (informal)
    been keeping my nose clean (informal)

    Under "Telling how you have been doing - negative", you can find

    not good
    not so good
    not too good
    none too good
    ....

    I mean "been up to no good" doesn't sound positive to me,why they would put it here
    I don't know. That would normally be the kind of thing somebody might say about somebody else. Example: "Watch out for Dave. He's up to no good." Or: "Sam and Elliot have been getting into mischief. They have been up to no good."


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