I was checking out some phrasal verbs of the verb Tear in Cambridge Dictionary, it shows all definitions of one single word, and my question is related to the phrasal verb Tear up, which means:

To almost cry due to a strong emotion that is being experienced.

Well, That's how Cambridge defines it and also provides some examples. This was the example provided by cambridge:

She teared up as the award was presented to her.

Why is it teared and not tore, since the past tense of the verb Tear is: Tore?

Is using "teared or tore" optional?


  • 2
    The past tense of that definition of Tear is not Tore. One sounds like Teer and the other sounds like Tare. This is probably one of the most confusing parts of learning English. Two words that are spelled the same, but are pronounced and defined differently. – Hank Jan 30 '17 at 20:44
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    You have the wrong verb. Tear, pronounced like wear, means to rip. Tear up is pronounced like year up, and it means to begin to cry (eyes get wet). – Drew Jan 30 '17 at 20:44
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    Well, you think wrong. You can tear up a sheet of paper (pronounced like wear up. And you can tear up (pronounced like year up). The latter is a completely different verb, and it does not take an object. See this. – Drew Jan 30 '17 at 20:51
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    Read @Hank's helpful answer. Or read the comments again. Live and learn. – Drew Jan 30 '17 at 20:53
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    @Haseo You are mistaken. The past tense of tear is tore, but the past tense of tear is teared. Hope that's completely clore up now. – tchrist Jan 30 '17 at 20:53

You are confusing two different words.

1. Tear

(scroll down the page)


  • To pull apart or in pieces by force, especially so as to leave ragged or irregular edges.

The past tense version of definition 1 is Tore.

2. Tear


  • To fill up and overflow with tears, as the eyes

The past tense version of definition 2 is Teared.

Teared up is using the 2nd definition.

  • Now you were clear, there are two different words, but I'm still confused why it was listed in the phrasal verbs of the word Tear - the one that means to rip. – Haseo Jan 30 '17 at 20:56
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    +1. All the more confusing, at least in print, given that one can tear up a letter from an ex, and tear up over it at the same time. – cobaltduck Jan 30 '17 at 20:56
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    @Haseo If that is true, then the page is at fault. It was probably just an unknown mistake. – Hank Jan 30 '17 at 20:59
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    Perhaps this could help: macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/tear-up_1. Note that both meanings of the word tear have a phrasal variant with the preposition up- Tear up (rip apart) a piece of paper, tear up (get wet eyes) due to emotion. – cobaltduck Jan 30 '17 at 21:28
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    The other definition would be macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/tear-up_2 – Hank Jan 30 '17 at 21:30

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