Dry up

If a continuous flow of something "dries up", it stops flowing

Today's story: Huawei executive charged
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Dry up

Time for a phrasal verb. Today it’s “dry up.” I love these phrasal verbs because they’re so common in everyday speech that I think nothing of them. Then, when I have to describe them for you, I laugh at how silly they are sometimes. Dry up. Okay, how to explain this…all right. Start with something that you think is like a continuous flow. It can be physical, like an oil well, right, it just continuously produces oil. Or it can be something more intangible, like a flow of money. If something is continuously flowing, but then stops, then you say that thing dried up.

Huawei’s business outside China is starting to dry up. They were doing good business in Europe, stealing customers from rivals Nokia and Ericsson. They had a good business, lots of money coming in. But with its latest controversy, its business outside China is starting to dry up. It’s not gone completely, but it’s starting to dry up. Inside China is another story, of course.

What else? Support for Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, is starting to dry up. Not a lot of people were satisfied with the Brexit deal she negotiated. We talked about that on Thursday. I wouldn’t say she was ever really popular, but the support she has had is starting—starting—to dry up, to disappear. She’s losing support.

I read a story about Zimbabwe, a country in Africa, which is having fuel shortages. The supply of gasoline dried up in that country a few weeks ago. Most of us are used to a world in which there’s gas at the gas station, right? We might not like the price, but it’s always there. In Zimbabwe last week, the supply dried up. People waited for hours, but there just wasn’t any gas to buy.

In troubled countries, supplies of basic goods like medicine and food can dry up. That’s the case in Venezuela these days. It’s a really sad situation, but in many towns and cities, the supply of everyday staples has dried up. They can’t get what they need to eat and stay healthy.


That’s all for today’s episode of Plain English. Don’t forget MosaLingua at PlainEnglish.com/learn. If you’re like me, you’ll have some time off at the holidays. I’ll be practicing my Spanish—maybe you’ll be working on your English. And MosaLingua is a great way to do that. Learn all about the fantastic resources they have at PlainEnglish.com/learn.

Once again from JR and me, have a very Merry Christmas tomorrow. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, well, then have a good Tuesday. We’ll be back again on Thursday.

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Story: Huawei executive charged