How to Use the Phrasal Verb BLOW UP

Music is not math. It’s science. You keep mixing the stuff up until it blows up on you, or it becomes this incredible potion.
— Bruno Mars

The phrasal verb blow up has a few different meanings. In this post, we’re going to look at some of its common synonyms and uses.

1. Explode

If something blows up, or if someone blows something up, it explodes. So we can say,

“If you turn the power up too high, it might blow up.”

“They blew up the rock with 5 tons of dynamite”

Grammar Points

We can separate this phrasal verb:

“They tried to blow up the building.”

“They tried to blow the building up.”


2. Inflate

If you blow something up, you fill it with air or gas. So we can say,

“Can you help me blow up these balloons?”

“Check your tires. You might need to blow them up.”

Grammar Points

We can separate this phrasal verb:

“We blew up the balloons.”

“We blew the balloons up.”


3. Enlarge

If you blow up a photograph, you make it bigger. So we can say,

“They blew up the picture to make a huge poster.”

“They blew up the image on a large screen.”

Grammar Points

We can separate this phrasal verb:

“We need to blow up this picture.”

We need to blow this picture up.”

We are made out of stardust. The iron in the hemoglobin molecules in the blood in your right hand came from a star that blew up 8 billion years ago.
— Jill Tarter


4. Lose Your Temper

If you blow up at someone, you suddenly become angry and shout at them. So we can say,

“I’ve been really stressed lately. I didn’t mean to blow up like that.”

“He blew up at me and said some stupid stuff.”

Grammar Points

1. We can’t separate this phrasal verb.

2. We can use ‘at’, ‘on’ or ‘over’ depending on the context:

Blow up at someone”She blew up at me."

Blow up on someone“She blew up on me.”

Blow up over something“I can’t believe she blew up over something so silly.”


Blow Up in Someone’s Face (Idiom)

If something you planned blows up in your face, it causes a lot of problems that you didn’t expect. So we can say,

“Be careful. This strategy might blow up in your face.”

Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below. And If you found this useful, please spread the knowledge and share it with your friends.