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    #1

    Can we use "cheer up" only when someone is sad?

    From what I understand, to cheer up means to feel less miserable or less sad.


    e.g. He was feeling blue because he had a rough day at work, but an unexpected phone call from her cheered him up.


    But can we use "cheer up" when the subject wasn't feeling miserable in the first place? Say, in the above example, if he hadn't had a rough day and was not feeling blue, could we still have used "cheer up"? If not, what can we use instead?


    He got home after a typical day at work. An unexpected phone call from her... made him happier? Filled him with joy? brightened up his day?

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    #2

    Re: Can we use "cheer up" only when someone is sad?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigMak View Post
    He was feeling blue because he had a rough day at work, but an unexpected phone call from her cheered him up.

    But can we use "cheer up" when the subject wasn't feeling miserable in the first place? Say, in the above example, if he hadn't had a rough day and was not feeling blue, could we still have used "cheer up"?
    No.

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Can we use "cheer up" only when someone is sad?

    If you just mean 'make someone happy', you may consider 'exhilarate', see http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionarie...ish/exhilarate

    Not a teacher.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Can we use "cheer up" only when someone is sad?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigMak View Post


    He got home after a typical day at work. An unexpected phone call from her... made him happier? Filled him with joy? Brightened up his day?
    Also:

    Brought a smile to his face.
    Made him feel good.


  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Can we use "cheer up" only when someone is sad?

    When you're already cheerful, you don't need cheering up.

    Pay attention to the word up.

    - You don't need propping up if you're already propped.
    - You don't need to fix something up if it's not broken.
    - You don't need to take up football if you already play football.
    - You don't need to get dressed up if you're already wearing fancy clothes.

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    #6

    Re: Can we use "cheer up" only when someone is sad?

    What about brighten up? Even if my day is bright, I could still use some brightening up.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 29-Aug-2014 at 08:04. Reason: Deleting unnecessary quote.

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    #7

    Re: Can we use "cheer up" only when someone is sad?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigMak View Post
    What about brighten up? Even if my day is bright, I could still use some brightening up.
    Well, in theory even if you feel good you could still feel better. However, if your day is bright would you really be looking for a reason for it to be better?


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    #8

    Re: Can we use "cheer up" only when someone is sad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    Well, in theory even if you feel good you could still feel better. However, if your day is bright would you really be looking for a reason for it to be better?

    What's your point exactly? How is it relevant to this discussion?
    Last edited by BigMak; 29-Aug-2014 at 20:24. Reason: adding more info

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    #9

    Re: Can we use "cheer up" only when someone is sad?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigMak View Post
    What's your point exactly? How is it relevant to this discussion?
    The point is this: there is no need to tell someone who is having a good (bright) day to brighten up. We would only use that expression if we thought that the person was down/sad/miserable. Even then it would be necessary to give them a reason to "brighten up".

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    #10

    Re: Can we use "cheer up" only when someone is sad?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    The point is this: there is no need to tell someone who is having a good (bright) day to brighten up. We would only use that expression if we thought that the person was down/sad/miserable. Even then it would be necessary to give them a reason to "brighten up".

    I guess I can see where the misunderstanding lies. I was not talking about telling someone to brighten up. My point was even if I were having a good day, which is an average day because for me an average day is a good day, things can still happen to brighten up my day.

    And "brighten up" was just an example. What my actual point was, a phrasal verb that has the word "up" doesn't necessarily connote the initial absence of that verb in that particular context.

    Edited:

    Could you answer me this: do you absolutely have to be down in the dumps for your day to brighten up or can you have a neutral and your day could still brighten up?

    Again, for you to drink up, is it required that you haven't drunk anything at all? I could have drunk half of a glass and not feel like drinking any more when someone says, "Drink up."


    Besides, isn't it true for any verb and phrasal verb? You fix something only when it is broken. You go somewhere because you already haven't gone there. You eat because you already haven't eaten. You sit down only when you haven't sat down already.

    Now, I don't want to look ungrateful for Charlie's reply but I am looking at this whole thing from a learner's perspective. Even when I learn a new phrasal verb with "up", the fact that we do something "up" when it is usually not done before doesn't give me much to go on since it is not always true and it is usually true for all verbs and phrasal verbs. I might have the same question when I learn a new phrasal verb whether or not it has "up". Do you see what I am saying?
    Last edited by BigMak; 30-Aug-2014 at 06:44. Reason: Correcting mistakes and clarifying

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