Phrasal Verbs: to ramp (something) up

This edition of 2-minute English is in response to an email question from Mei, a Better At English listener in China. She asked about the meaning of the phrase, to ramp (something) up.


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Today’s phrase is to ramp something up.

To ramp something up.

To meet the demand for our widgets, we have to ramp up production to 100 000 units per week.

We need to ramp up our customer service if we want to stay competitive

To ramp something up.


To ramp something up means to increase it or do more of it. A business can ramp up an activity, such as production. It can also ramp up things in general, such as speed: Intel has ramped up the speed of its processors yet again (surprise, surprise!).


To ramp up something or ramp something up is a separable phrasal verb that follows this pattern — you can say:

We ramped up our production by 100%.
We ramped our production up by 100%.
We ramped it up by 100%.

But you can’t say

We ramped up it by 100%. [incorrect]

Authentic example

Today’s authentic example is from CNN:

"The fourth-quarter demand is higher than anticipated so we have to ramp up holiday production," said Harold Chizick, spokesman with Ontario-based toymaker Spin Master. "But because of the labor issue in China, it could be difficult to increase production [of some products] the further we get into the holiday season."

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Look up to ramp something up in the dictionary.

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