I'll make it short. This is the context:

A: Thanks for buying me that product.

B: No problem.

A: How can I make up to you?

Is it okay to use the expression "to make up to someone" in this context?

If not, what sentences or expressions can be more appropriate for someone who's done a favor to you and you want to do something in return?

  • 1
    It turns out that you can't say "someone who's done a favor to you" to mean "someone who's done you a favor". Favors are done for you, not to you.
    – tchrist
    Jan 11, 2023 at 13:49
  • 1
    @tchrist. Innuendo abounds Jan 11, 2023 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


The idiomatic expression is not make up to [someone]

make up to someone

to be too friendly to someone or to praise them in order to get advantages for yourself:

Have you seen the disgusting way she makes up to the boss?


but rather make it up to [someone]

make it up to someone

to do something good for someone you have upset, in order to become friends with them again:

I'm sorry we can't take you with us, but I promise I'll make it up to you somehow.


In your case, make it up to you is probably overstating things: your friend isn't upset — unless they really are, because they took the rap for something you did, for example.

If it's simply a favour, then return the favour is probably all that's needed.


to give, do, or get something after something similar has been given or done to you:

I gave her a ride when her car broke down and now she is returning the favour (= doing something to help me in exchange).

  • 1
    To expand on this, you might say "Let me know if I can return the favor", or something like "Thanks for doing that. If there's anything I can help you with, just ask." It's not normal to insist on repaying a favor immediately - I think in some cultures it's considered very bad to owe anybody anything, even a small favor, which might be motivating the OP, but in the US or UK that's not true. (This is more for interpersonal.stackexchange.com though)
    – Stuart F
    Jan 11, 2023 at 10:37
  • Depending on how formal the situation you could say "I'm in your debit" or "I owe you one" Jan 11, 2023 at 12:10
  • 1
    @Peter That should be "debt", no?
    – wjandrea
    Jan 11, 2023 at 18:33
  • @wjandrea Oops! typo. Yes "debt" Jan 11, 2023 at 22:30

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