Do plants grow or grow up? And what about children? In this video you’re going to learn how we use these two verbs and fix some very common mistakes.

Grow has several different but similar meanings, so let’s start with some examples. What things grow?
Plants grow. They get bigger and taller. And animals grow, for example puppies. They grow a lot in the first six months. And children. They’re always growing.

Hey, you’ve grown since I last saw you.
You always say that Vicki.
It’s true.

So we were talking about height here – how tall he is.

Do you know how tall you are?
Well actually, I am almost five feet tall like an adult.

OK so that’s the first meaning of grow – get bigger and taller. So what else grows?
A queue or a line of people can grow. The population of a country of city can grow. Companies can grow. Their sales can grow, and perhaps their profits too.

Our profits have grown by 50% this year so we’re doing very well.

So in these examples, grow means increase in size and number.
OK, here’s another common meaning of grow. It can mean become.

I think it’s going to rain.
Yeah, the sky’s growing dark.
Oh yeah.

So here growing means ‘gradually beginning to do something’. We use ‘grow’ like this with adjectives, so we can grow bored, we can grow impatient, and we can grow excited. These are all things that happen over a period of time and growing means becoming.
Great. Now you know the main meanings of grow, so what about grow up. This is a phrasal verb and we use it to talk about human beings. When we develop from a child into an adult, we grow up.

I grew up in Brooklyn in New York, but now I live in Philadelphia.

So Jay is talking about the time in his life when he was becoming an adult here. Another example.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a pilot.
So you want to fly planes?

‘When you grow up’ means, ‘when you become an adult’. Of course some people never really grow up.

Oh grow up Jay!

So here’s a phrase we use when we want someone to behave in a more mature and responsible way.
Now, if someone has grown from a child into an adult, we can say they’ve grown up. Parents might say they have grown-up children. ‘Grown-up’ is an adjective and we use it to describe fully developed and mature adults. And ‘grown-up’ can also be a noun. A grown-up is another way of saying adult. But it’s a childish way of speaking. It’s a word we use when we’re talking with children.

So I’m a grown-up.
Yeah. Karate.
Yeah, right.

Grow is an irregular verb – grow, grew, grown. But there’s something else you should know.
Have a look at this example. Is grow a transitive or intransitive verb here? It’s intransitive which means there’s no object. The population doesn’t grow something. It just grows. And what about this example? Same thing. No object. OK, one more. Ah, this one’s different. There’s an object here. We’re growing something.

We’re growing lots of flowers on the deck this year. I’m growing geraniums in this pot and look at these little plants. I’ve grown them all from seed. They’re wild flowers.

So grow can be an intransitive or a transitive verb. It depends what we’re talking about, but with plants it can be either. We can say ‘We grow plants’ or ‘Plants grow’.
There are a few other things like this. Bacteria for example. Bacteria can grow or we can grow bacteria. And then there’s our hair and nails. We can say our hair grows and we can also say we’re growing our hair – allowing it to get longer. And finger nails. Our nails grow but we can also grow our nails. Another thing – beards.

I’m not going to shave today.
Yes, I’m thinking of growing a beard. What do you think?
I don’t think it’s a good idea. What do you think?

So growing a beard means allowing your beard to grow.
Now what about that other verb – grow up? Is it transitive or intransitive or both? Let’s see. Have a look at this example. What do you think? It’s intransitive here. There’s no object. Are you thinking, but what about Brooklyn, Vicki? Yeah, but notice that word ‘in’. There’s no direct object here. ‘Grow up’ is not followed directly by a noun. Another example. Transitive or intransitive? Intransitive again. ‘Grow up’ is always intransitive. We grow up, but we can’t grow up something. Remember that if you can because students often make mistakes with that. We grow up, but we can’t grow up something.
I have three questions for you. First one. Are these two sentences correct? The first one is correct but the second one is wrong. We only use ‘grow up’ to talk about children. It means develop into an adult and become mature. We could say this though, but here ‘up’ would go with the wall. It’s not the phrasal verb ‘grow up’.
OK, second question. Are these sentences correct? Yes, they’re both correct, but they mean different things. ‘The children grew’ means they got bigger and taller. ‘The children grew up’ means they became adults.
OK last one. What do you think? Are they correct? The first one is correct but the second one is wrong. When we’re talking about height we use grow. Grow up is about becoming more mature and we just grow up. We don’t grow up something.
Did you get them right? Well done! If you’ve enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs up and share it with a friend. We have lots of other videos that can help you grow your English vocabulary. Happy studying and see you next week!

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13 thoughts on “How to use the verb Grow and the phrasal verb Grow up”

  1. I think I never found English course so clear and funny. Thanks very much, you make a fantastic work! And I can’t wait to start a new video!
    see you soon!

  2. Mohammad Bahramporian

    You are really perfect it’s been a long time I was confused about these words, and you definition was perfect

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