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    #1

    show someone up vs curl up

    Can you please explain me if you use these two verbs differently in everyday's English?
    The expressions are these two: to show someone up and to curl up. I have looked them up in the dictionary and it says that they both mean to "get embarassed" so it's not clear enough.
    1) When my mother sings, I curl up/ she shows me up.
    2) Please, don't show me up in front of people tonight/Please don't make me curl up in front of people tonight.
    3) When she burst out laughing, I curled up/she showed me up.

    Thank you all for your help.

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    #2

    Re: show someone up vs curl up

    They don't have the same meaning. To show someone up is to reveal their faults, usually by demonstrating how much better you are at something than they are. This may embarrass the other person. But it does not mean that one gets embarrassed. It means another person acts in a way that causes you shame because you can not compare to the other person.

    Say you think you are good at lifting weights and are trying to impress some girls by lifting 100 pounds. You struggle with it. Then I push you aside and lift 200 pounds easily. I have shown you up.

    Now, one may "curl up" when one feels embarrassed. Like the little bug. It's used to describe one's reaction to being embarrassed. When my dad drove me to school in his bathrobe, I just wanted to curl up and die.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: show someone up vs curl up

    I have not seen "curl up" used all by itself.
    I just wanted to curl up and die"? Yes.
    "I just wanted to curl up"? No.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. Boris Tatarenko's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: show someone up vs curl up

    Hello.

    Can I use "curl up" when my cat is sleeping. I mean: Dan, look! My cat curled up and fell asleep.
    I'm not sure that I understand exactly what this phrasal verb means.
    Please, correct all my mistakes. I should know English perfectly and if you show me my mistakes I will achieve my dream a little bit faster. A lot of thanks.

    Not a teacher nor a native speaker.

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    #5

    Re: show someone up vs curl up

    not a teacher

    Can I use "curl up" when my cat is sleeping?

    Certainly. Here is a cat curled up.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: show someone up vs curl up

    We also say "I just want to curl up with a good book".

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: show someone up vs curl up

    But note that neither the cat nor the reader are embarrassed.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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