Could anyone please give me the answer of the english exercise below and help me tell apart take up and take on, which both mean beginning to do something? I appreciate your help with this exercise.

You looked exhausted. I think you’ve _______ more than you can handle.

A. turned on
B. taken up
C. turned up
D. taken on

  • Thanks. I did look them up, i just couldn't know which one of them would be more suitable for the blank in the exercise and why. When looking them up in some dictionaries, i thought "take on" would be the best answer to the exercise but the key, which i got from a few websites, was take up. I got confused. But from those figures you show me above and from vm_1_r's answer, i guess the key must be "taken on"
    – Di Ngụy
    Commented Feb 23, 2020 at 5:45

1 Answer 1


Well. Take up means:

  1. to start being keen on smth, to begin doing smth on regular basis.
  • I took up tennis.
  • I wish I took up mathematics.

And second relevant definition is

  1. to consume or occupy.
  • The books on finance take up three shelves.
  • All my time is taken up with looking after kids.

Whereas take on means

  1. to begin to have or exhibit.
  • In the dark, the teddy bear took on the appearance of a fearsome monster.

Another definition is
2. to assume responsibility for...

  • I'll take on this project if no one else wants to take it.

And I guess, another appropriate meaning of take on is to attempt to fight or compete with.

  • I don't recommend taking on that bully, since he is bigger than you.

Therewith, my answer to your question is

You look exhausted. I think you've taken on more than you can handle.

Because it kinda means to assume responsibility for. I guess you see what I mean.

  • Thank you. I got it
    – Di Ngụy
    Commented Feb 23, 2020 at 5:26

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