Both 起来 and 上 after a verb should indicate the beginning and continuation of an action or a state. Are there differences in usage? If yes when should I use one instead of the other?

Examples with 上:

1912 年中华民国成立,孙中山先生当上了临时大总统。 难道他喜欢上音乐了? 小王可能爱上了丽丽,可又不好意思说。 老同学一见面又开始聊上以前的事了。

Examples with 起来:

想到老板的动作,我们都笑了起来。 两位母亲聊了起来。

  • 1
    Can you give some examples?
    – trisct
    Apr 24, 2020 at 3:06
  • I added examples to the question.
    – kongqi
    Apr 26, 2020 at 10:08

1 Answer 1


[action verb + 起来] does indicate beginning of an action, e.g. 动起来 = start to move; 打起来 = start to fight

[verb + 上] doesn't indicate beginning of an action, it indicates 'action toward an object' e.g. 爱上他 = fall in love with him; 算上他 = counting him; 走上絕路 = walk toward an dead end

[起来] could mean [upon]. e.g. 看起来 = upon looking (seems); 聽起来 = upon hearing (sounds); 说起来 = upon mentioning (by the way)

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