Mess up – English Phrasal Verb – Online English Lessons

September 18, 2011 By Angela Boothroyd

1. To mess up something (or mess something up) is to make something dirty, untidy or disorganized.

Informal English.

Examples of use:

a) You can look at my books but don’t mess up my shelves, please.

b) I hate the wind. It messes up my hair.

c) She tidied the children’s bedrooms and five minutes later they messed them up again.

d) He always messes up the kitchen when he cooks.

2. To mess up something (or mess something up) is to do something badly, or to spoil or create problems with something.

Similar to screw up

Informal English.

Examples of use:

a) I’m so cheesed off. I really messed up my English exam and I think I have failed it.

b) He stole money from the company bank account and messed up his whole career.

c) I hope the travel agent doesn’t mess up our holiday like they did last year. They forgot to book our plane tickets, and our hotel was horrible.

d) Every time I make plans for the future, you mess things up.

infinitive mess up
present simple mess up and messes up
-ing form messing up
past simple messed up
past participle messed up

Can you write a sentence using this phrasal verb?

Has somebody or something messed up your plans?

Image © Mr. T in DC