I have a question about the phrase "make up for".

You can make up for the loss, the delay or someone's mistake, right? I used to think you can also "make (this/it) up for someone", meaning that you will do something nice to that person because you feel obligated for your not-so-nice conduct prior to this conversation.

ex) Hey, I'm sorry I'm late. I will totally make this up for you.

Since I can't seem to find a valid example for this usage, I noticed that I might have picked up this phrase mistakenly.

2 Answers 2


What you are thinking of is make it up to somebody. That means to do something good for someone you have upset to be on good terms with them again.

  • The implication being if you make it up to someone, you're actively counterbalancing something (it?) you did wrong in the past. Whereas if you make up with them, there's no implication that either party is more blameworthy, or puts more effort into the reconciliation than the other. Aug 31, 2012 at 23:17
  • In formal contexts, "reconcile" / "reconciliation" could be more appropriate.
    – dtmland
    May 28, 2014 at 19:18

The correct phrase is "I'll make it up to you."

Hey, I'm sorry I'm late. I will totally make this up to you.


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