English Phrasal Verb of the Day: To Hook Up
It’s easy for us native English speaker to forget how complicated and confusing English phrasal verbs (verbs comprised of 2 or more words) are. While they come naturally to us, indeed they are often part of informal speech, they are widely considered to be one of the most challenging aspects of English.
Consider the phrasal verb to hook up. If you are just starting to learn English, the following sentence may seem very confusing:
We hooked our new computer up to the network.
The word up seems to have no place in this sentence, it isn’t clear that it goes with the word hooked, and there’s no reason that the two words should add up to mean connect. And then there’s the fact that hooked up only means connect in this context.
Hooked up can be used to ask someone to put you in contact with someone:
I asked Jim to hook me up with the girl we met at the club last night.
Or it can mean to do you a favor:
Jim hooked me up with two tickets to the U2 concert.
I can mean to meet with people:
Did you hook up with your friends last night?
And, as if this phrasal verb couldn’t get anymore confusing, it can mean to have sex with someone:
Did you hook up with the girl you met at the club last night?
Note that in the other usages of hook up, the phrasal verb is usually separated by a noun or pronoun, as in: Hook me up, or Hook Jim up. In this final two usages, it is not separated. The construction of these last two usages are very similar, and you should really have a good handle on how they’re used before trying it out. Or just use it, and be prepared for some humorous misunderstandings.
In the end, proper usage of the English phrasal verb hook up is all about context. I recommend testing it out with close friends, or with a native English tutor, before trying it out in the real world. Also, you should note that it is an informal way of speaking, and therefore generally meant to be used with people you are familiar with.
Want to learn more phrasal verbs? Check out our Phrasal Verb of the Day.