meaning of 'slip up on'

English Language Learners Asked by 4d_ on January 4, 2022

I came across a few sentences….

  1. He ‘slipped up on’ just one detail.
  2. Someone had ‘slipped up on’ the order.

I do understand what slip up means – to make a mistake. But what about slipping up on something? Does it mean, for example in the second sentence, that someone made a mistake while taking an order? Like, they wrote down a wrong address perhaps? I can’t seem to understand it, since English ain’t my mother tongue :/ Please help me understand it.

2 Answers

The specific phrase "slipped up on" means "made a mistake about" or "made a mistake in regard to." The phrase following "on" indicates exactly what the mistake concerned. In this use, "on" does not imply "during" or "while" as it can in other constructions.

He slipped up on just one detail.

One detail was incorrect, although everything else was right. Often this would be followed by further text giving just what detail was wrong, and how.

Someone had slipped up on the order.

Some mistake was made by someone about the order. Again, this would often be followed by details.

  • He slipped up on timing - he should have entered the order before he started to work on it.

  • She slipped up on manners -- one does not say "you're welcome" before one is thanked.

Answered by David Siegel on January 4, 2022

While X on Y is used to express X being on top of Y if Y is a physically flat surface, or X is "stuck" to Y somehow, it can also be used a bit more abstractly to express that X is currently or was talking about or dealing with Y as a topic or thing to work on.

The class is currently working on chapter 4 in the text.

It's definitely used to communicate "while X, Y happened":

We were on the 3rd round of the fight when he called = While we were [watching] the 3rd round of the fight, he called


He slipped up on an order = While he [was processing] an order, he slipped up.

Answered by LawrenceC on January 4, 2022

Add your own answers!

Ask a Question

Get help from others!

© 2024 All rights reserved. Sites we Love: PCI Database, UKBizDB, Menu Kuliner, Sharing RPP