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The phrasal verb "tie up"

Even though "tie up" in today's headlines is not a phrasal verb, the fact that it has so many meanings makes it a good choice to write about.



Wal-Mart, Bharti tie up

"Tie up" in this case is used as a verb; it comes from the noun group "tie-up" used by the British. It refers to a connection or an agreement that joins two things or organisations together.

Wal-Mart is an American retail company, while Bharti is an Indian Telecom company; so the headline means, "Wal-Mart, Bharti join their businesses".

Here are more meanings of the phrase "tie-up":

A. This one stems from the root of the phrase: To tie somebody up means to tie a person's body or part of their body with a rope or a similar object resulting in the person being unable to move.

"Jack was tied up and gagged in a locked bathroom when the police raided the house."

B. Used with objects: to tie something up is to fasten them together with string, rope or similar items.

"Can you tie these bags up for me, please?"  

 

C. If someone tells you that they are tied up, don't get confused. They're telling you that they are busy or engaged otherwise.

"Could you make it to the BBQ at my house this Saturday?"

"I'd love to. But I'm tied up this weekend. Thanks for inviting me anyway."

 

D. When Jack was tied up in the bathroom, he was unhappy, but later, when he was tied up with Jane he was happy because he was having a personal relationship with her.

"We hardly see Jack around lately since he got tied up with Jane."

 

E. What if you tie up your money or your belongings? Too bad, those things are just not available.

"Why didn't you e-mail me the story then?"

"My son tied up the computer all morning."

 

F. If you are the boss, the one thing you should not do to your staff is tie them up in knots, because then you'll be confusing them.

"You are tying me up in knots; can you explain it again, slowly, please?"

 

G. And, do you still remember Jack and Jane mentioned earlier in this column? Yes, Jack got tied up with Jane; and then they decided to tie the knot. They're getting married!

Jack and Jane are going to tie the knot next month.

 

IDENTIFY WHICH MEANING OF THE ABOVE EXPRESSIONS IS USED IN EACH SENTENCE:

1. I would really love to drive that car to work, but all my money is tied up in the mortgage.

2. Can it be tomorrow? Today I'm tied up with a couple of meetings.

3. Finally, my brother decided to tie the knot with his college sweetheart.

4. It was nice of the technician to try and explain how this system works; but he tied me up in knots.

5. "Mary has changed a lot; how come?"

    "She just got tied up with this new guy at her college."

6. One of the child's legs was tied up with a chair.

Answers: 1 E; 2. C; 3. G; 4. F; 5. D; 6. A.



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