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Set up

Writing about the phrasal verb "to set sight on" in last week's column made me realise that the phrasal verb "to set up" was also worth looking into.

Generally 'to set up" has the connotation of establishing or building something to make it ready to operate. From this elementary meaning, the phrasal verb extends to various meanings; but due to the space limitations in this column, I will choose only some of the ones that might cause confusion.

The differences in meaning this phrasal verb provides lies in the accompanying subject; a person or a thing that sets somebody up. 

A. If we talk about something setting you up, it puts you in a satisfactory situation such as by providing you with the money that you need for an important task.

Being awarded a scholarship for a Master's Degree has set the boy up for his education.


B. Or it says that something makes you feel healthy and energetic.

Take this chocolate bar, it will set you up for your late night studies.

C. Watch out if somebody sets you up because they make it seem like you have done something wrong when you have not. It also describes somebody being tricked and getting into a situation where they may be harmed. Both meanings are informal.

I don't know anything, believe me; he set me up.


D. When you set up equipment or an experiment, you make the necessary preparations so that it is ready to work or be used.


Can you help me set up my new computer this weekend?

E. In a similar way, if you set up a course, a company or an investigation, you make the arrangements or preparations that are necessary to start it.

I was assigned to set up a training course that will prepare parents of an autistic child to be able to provide appropriate care for their little one.


F. If you set up a home or house, the meaning is the same, you start living in your own home, usually one that you have purchased. We do not say that you set up home if you move into your parents' house.

Natalie told me that she wanted to marry Nathan and set up home with him.


Choose the meaning of "set up" used in the following sentences

1. We need to set up the experiment properly and test it before the teacher comes to make sure nothing can go wrong.

2. Once you get married; it's better to set up home than continue living with your parents.

3. Jamie lost both of his parents in a car accident so his grandparents arranged a fund that sets him up for life.

4. The detective investigated the case and found both evidence and witnesses that proved that Harry was set up.

5. My various home-made spicy dips have received a very good response so I am thinking of setting up a company that sells my products and quitting my regular job. 

Answers: 1. D, 2. F, 3. A, 4. C, 5. E

By Parnsap Yomanage

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