LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||09/ABR/2006 1:10 PM|
|Assunto:||Keep up with/catch up with|
Keep up with = To keep the same pace/speed of another object that is now moving at your side and at the same speed.
You and I leave my house at the same time, driving cars. You are driving 50 kph. If I want to keep up with you, I need to drive 50 kph too. If I drive faster than that, I will be ahead of you soon and you will not be able to keep up with me because with each passing minute the distance between us will grow. If I drive at a slower speed, you will always be ahead of me for the same reason just given, and I will never be able to keep up with you. (Note that if you keep up with another car, neither car will be significantly ahead or behind the other.)
Catch up with = To be go at a faster pace/speed than than an object ahead of with the intention of reaching that object over time.
You leave my house, driving you car at a speed of 50 kph. I leave five minutes later. If I want to catch up with you, I need to drive at a speed in excess of 50 kph. If I drive faster than that, over time I will reach you, I will catch up with you. (Whether one car is slightly to the side, in front, or behind the other car immaterial.) If I do not travel at a speed in excess of 50 kph, you will always be ahead of me and I will have no chance to reach you, to catch up with you. (Note that if you catch up with another car, you have three choices:  you can pass the second car,  you can "keep up with the second car, maintaining the same speed and remaining as close to it as it is safe to be, or  you can reduce your speed and let the second car get ahead of you again.)
You are being given a lot of work at the office. Each Monday you are given an assignment that takes about five full days to do under normal conditions. You have to work very hard to keep up with the work, to not let work accumulate until your work load is impossible to handle.
You go on vacation for two weeks. Each Monday you are given an assignment that takes about five full days to do under normal conditions. Upon your return, you learn that nobody has done any of your work. Instead of having one week of work waiting for you this morning as you normally do, you find that you have three weeks of work waiting: work for the two weeks you were on vacation and one week of work as you would normally receive. You will have to do three weeks of work in just one week to catch up with the work. How are you going to do that? Maybe you can arrive at work an hour earlier, eat lunch at your desk, not take any breaks, leave an hour later in the evening, ask friends to help you, etc.
If you haven't slept well for the past few nights, maybe you can catch up on your sleep by going to bed early tonight and getting up later than usual tomorrow.
When you return to you place of birth for Christmas, you can catch up on local news by talking with your cousins.
If you are hired for a job that normally requires a master's degree that you don't have, you are going to have to play catch up by studying on your own, taking special classes, going back to the university at night, etc.
Many people keep up with the news by reading newspapers every day.
If you are keeping up with the Joneses, you are imitating the purchases and lifestyle of your neighbors and friends for the sake of appearances.
It is impossible to give an example for every possible use of these expressions, but I think the examples above will give you an idea of how they are used.
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