Tear vs. Tear up

This time, we're gonna teach you all about the differences and similarities between these two nearly identical verbs. Ready?

"Tear" vs. "Tear up" in the English Language

What Is Their Main DIfference?

Both refer to ruining something. However, 'tear up' is a phrasal verb and includes a particle, while, 'tear' is a verb. Also, we can use 'tear up' in a more subjective way like refusing to accept an offer, or hurting someone's emotions, while, 'tear' is more objective and includes destroying an actual, physical object.

Differences

From a grammatical perspective, 'tear up' is a phrasal verb that is made up of the main verb and a particle. It is used in a more subjective way. We can hurt someone's emotions, reject a contract, an offer, etc. Check out the following examples:

I swear I will literally tear you up to a thousand pieces as soon as I get out of here.

Hailey tore up the contract and left the manager's office immediately.

'Tear', on the other hand, is only comprised of the main verb and it is more objectively used. We use it to indicate destroying something. Look at the examples below:

Just when I entered the room, she tore the letter to pieces and started at me.

When I graduated from high school, I tore all my useless books and burned remaining.

Similarities

Both refer to ruining something and turning it into a million pieces. Take a look below:

Elena tore her wedding dress.

I gave you my heart and you tore it up completely.

Are They Interchangeable?

Most native speakers use them interchangeably in most cases. Compare:

✓ One day, my mom decided to tear all her wedding pictures up.

✓ One day, my mom decided to tear all her wedding pictures.

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