This occurred to me when I was drafting an email. I wanted to mention in the email that something that I had estimated earlier to take 5 days was not as complex, and I could finish it in 1 day.

Which of the following is correct?

  1. It turned out (to be?) much simpler that I had thought.

  2. It turned up (to be?) much simpler than I had thought.

  • @rumtscho's answer explains it well, but point two is wrong in most senses. The only sense I would think it would hold is in the alternate meaning of "It turned up", meaning "was found", or "came to light", even then the rest of the sentence would need slight adjustment to fix the grammar.
    – Orbling
    Jan 28 '11 at 1:20

The correct choice in your case is "It turned out to be much simpler than I had thought". (Notice, not "that", but "than"). This means you discovered that the thing was simple.

"It turned up" means that something appeared physically. For example, "My sister didn't turn up for my birthday party" means that she did not come to the party. Or "The sweater I thought lost turned up in laundry". This means that I had thought that I had lost it, but I found it in the laundry.

Both of those verbs have other meanings too, but the ones I give here are very common in everyday speach.

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