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Is It ‘Up To’ or ‘Upto’?

Shaun Connell
January 16, 2024

If you are here looking for an explanation of whether 'up to' or 'upto' is correct, you are in luck!

Here is the short answer: 

  • 'Up to' is the correct spelling of the English term used as a function word to indicate a boundary or limit or to indicate that a decision belongs to a specific person. 
  • 'Upto' is not grammatically correct and, therefore, should not be used. 

It can be difficult to remember whether compound words are supposed to be combined to create a single word or used as two separate words.

Often learning the definition, how to use the term, and seeing it used in sample sentences helps writers remember how to correctly spell confusing words. So, keep reading!

Which is Correct, 'Up To' or 'Upto?'

There is no question when it comes to 'up to' or 'upto.' You always spell it as two separate words.

However, many people get confused because the term is an open compound word, and many compound words are closed or written as a single word.

Here are some examples of other open and closed compound words.

Open Compound Words

Closed Compound Words

  • Into
  • Unto
  • Belittle
  • Before
  • Campfire

Hyphenated Compound Words

  • Sister-in-law
  • Brother-in-law
  • Mother-in-law
  • Father-in-law
  • Time-to-time
  • Self-esteem
  • Empty-handed
  • Merry-go-round
  • Mother-to-be
  • Father-to-be

Definition of 'Up To': What Does 'Up To' Mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'up to' as a preposition used as:

  • A function word to show extension as far as a specific place or point
  • A function word indicating a limit or boundary

Synonyms of 'Up To'

As a writer, it is important to know different ways to say the same thing. Using synonyms keeps your writing fresh and interesting.

So, here are some alternate words you can use for 'up to.'

  • Until
  • Prior to
  • Up till
  • Previous to
  • To
  • Till
  • Fore
  • Before
  • Ahead of

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Up To'

Now, let's look at the pronunciation of 'up to.' Knowing how to pronounce words is not only critical if you are a public speaker or speechwriter, but it can also help you remember how to spell and say terms.

So, here is a pronunciation guide you can reference. 

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'up to':

up tü

How and When to Use 'Up To'

Here are some writing tips for how and when to use 'up to.'

  • Use the popular term to show how far something goes.

For example, you could say:

The man had to go to his business meeting in a dirty suit after he stepped in a puddle that caused a mud stain up to his knee. 

  • Use the phrase to say that a decision is being left to someone.

As an example, I might say:

I have a few suggestions for places to have your 21st birthday party, but it is up to you.

  • Use the compound word to tell someone where something is located.

So, you might see someone write:

When you arrive at our building, come up to the fourth floor and turn right after you exit the elevator. Our office is three doors down on the left. 

  • Use this term to show that a responsibility belongs to someone.

As an example, you can say:

When you are in school, it is up to you to turn in your work and make good grades on tests and quizzes.

  • Use the open compound word when you are referencing something that is at a high elevation.

For example, you could say:

Are you coming up to the ski resort on Saturday or Sunday?

  • Use the word to reference something that is further north than you or another person.

So, you can say something like:

Will you be coming up to visit us this weekend, or are you going to wait until your next break? 

Sample Sentences Using 'Up To'

These sample sentences will help you remember the correct spelling of 'up to' and learn additional ways to use the popular term. So, read through them carefully.

Up To

  • I suggest that you submit your work to your editor before the deadline, but it is up to you.
  • It is up to you what you write your creative story about.
  • We are up to our neck in new orders, which is a great problem to have.
  • You need to button your shirt up to your top button when you are wearing a tie.
  • You should not leave important decisions about your book up to an unqualified editor. Instead, look for an editor with extensive experience in your genre.
  • If it was up to you, you would never finish a low-content book, let alone a best-selling novel.
  • While an editor may be able to offer some advice, your writing style is ultimately up to you.
  • Children entering kindergarten should know their alphabet and be able to count up to 100 or higher.
  • Have you ever been up to Lake Tahoe? It is one of my favorite places to go.
  • The average speed of drivers on the autobahn is up to ninety miles per hour. However, there is no speed limit on 70 percent of the roadway, so you can technically drive as fast as you want.

Last Look: Is It 'Up To' or 'Upto?'

Now, let's take a last look at whether 'up to' or 'upto' is correct: 

  • 'Up to' is the correct way to write the English term used to indicate that a decision belongs to someone specific or a boundary or limit. 
  • 'Upto' is a misspelling or grammatical error that you should avoid using. 

Even after you learn about a term like this, it can be challenging to remember the correct spelling. Do not worry, though. You can always return to this lesson for a quick review.

You can also learn about many other terms like this as well as other writing tips and industry best practices here. So, if you want to improve your writing skills and land high-paying jobs using those skills, check out some of the other posts here before you go.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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