1. Somehow they all ended up at my house. ("end up" + prepositional phrase)

  2. Well, grades ended up to be unimportant after all as my first job after graduating ended up in a private school with a very low pay scale. ("end up" + prepositional phrase)

  3. She ended up a rich woman. ("end up" + noun phrase)

  4. Maybe I'll end up a journalist. ("end up" + noun phrase)

  5. She'll end up penniless if she continues to spend like that. ("end up" + adjective)

  6. That could end up catastrophic. ("end up" + adjective)

Are they all correct? Or do they all need "being" after "end up"? For example:

Maybe I'll end up being a journalist.

When should we use "end up" + being + noun phrase/adj phrase/adverb phrase/prep. phrase, and when should we use "end up" + noun phrase/adj phrase/adverb phrase/prep. phrase?


2 Answers 2


End up is an idiom meaning 'come finally to (some situation or conclusion)' and can take a gerund complement describing the end state, which can be a predicate adjective or noun (with a being auxiliary). It has pretty much the same meaning and grammar as wind up.

  • She ended up going to the movies after all.
  • She ended up writing about her mother.
  • She ended up being bored out of her skull.
  • She ended up being too weak to stand.
  • She ended up being the assistant producer.

Auxiliary forms of be can be deleted by many rules, since they're predictable, so Whiz-deletion and to be-deletion are common in relative clauses and infinitive complements. This also happens to being auxiliaries with end up:

  • the man who was standing on the corner ==> the man standing on the corner
  • He's considered to be lazy ==> He's considered lazy
    (to be-deletion)
  • She ended up being a country lawyer ==> She ended up a country lawyer.

It is hard to know where to start ...

In all cases, “up” is an adverb that carries the meaning of “finally or completely”.


He opened the box - this does not say how far he opened the box - perhaps just a little...

He opened the box up / He opened up the box. He opened the box completely, e.g. he took off the lid.

To end up is probably a phrasal verb = to complete a journey (in space or time.)

1 end[ed] up = verb + adverb, at my house is an adverbial prepositional phrase.

  1. as above

  2. a rich woman is a noun phrase acting as an adverb – she ended up as a rich woman.

  3. as above. (Quite amusing if up were a preposition.)

  4. Penniless is an adjectival free modifier

6 As above

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