Boss: (to her staff at a meeting) Hi everyone! I want to follow up on the new policies we talked about at our last meeting…. How is everything so far?
Employee 1: I think the changes are good!
Employee 2: Maybe, but some of the new policy information hasn’t been sent to me yet.
Boss: Ok, thanks for letting me know. I’ll have my office get that to you right away.
Jerry: I can’t believe it! My bank charged me an extra fee for a service I never asked for!
Mark: Oh, that’s not good. Did you contact them about it?
Jerry: Yes~ the customer service representative apologized and told me they would reverse it.
Mark: Good. If I were you, I would follow up with them to make sure they give you your money back.
Jerry: For sure! If I don’t see the money returned to my account tomorrow, I’ll give them a call.
Meaning: to check on something after the first action. It also means to discover more about something.
In Example 1, the boss wants to check that everything is ok with her staff after they discussed new policies at their last meeting. And she probably wants to discover if her staff has any problems, questions, or input.
In Example 2, the idiom is used to make sure that everyhting is ok, as in Example 1. It also shows how important it is to check and make sure that someone does what they say they will do.
Usage notes: We use this idiom with the prepositions “on” or “with.”
Example 1: to follow up on something
Example 2: follow up with someone
Also, when using this idiom after a modal verb (can, could, may, might, will, would, should, etc.), remember to omit “to.”
CORRECT: I need to follow up. (need is not a modal verb)
CORRECT: I will follow up.
CORRECT: I will follow up with them.
INCORRECT: I will to follow up.
INCORRECT: I can to follow up.
The idiom “to follow up” was taken from Unit 9 (The Speed of Romance) in LSI’s textbook Reading Transitions for Level 4 Reading/Vocabulary classes.