The word "keep" has many different meanings when used as a verb:
1. To store or preserve the safety of something for a short time or a long time:
- Where do you keep your socks?
- She kept her keys in her purse.
- Pictures of our family are kept in photo albums.
- It’s a good idea to keep your car in a garage.
- He keeps his money in a piggy bank.
2. To promise not to say something:
- Can you keep a secret?
- Let’s keep this between ourselves.
- He’s keeping his mouth shut about this.
- She can’t keep quiet about anything.
3. To honor one’s obligations:
- You have to keep your promise.
- Tony is good about keeping his commitments.
- She kept her word.
4. To prevent someone from doing something:
- The sign says "Keep off the grass."
- The judge kept the man from speaking.
- The police kept us from coming closer to the house that was on fire.
- She can’t keep herself from smoking.
5. To maintain something:
- He keeps a journal and writes in it daily.
- They keep a busy schedule.
- Bob does a good job of keeping up on his house.
6. To maintain the same speed or effort:
- You’re walking too fast. I can’t keep up with you.
- Glenda is having a hard time keeping up with her homework.
- He can’t keep up with the other students.
- The horse that finished last wasn’t able to keep up the pace set by the other horses.
7. To continue:
- Savannah keeps working even though she hates her job.
- You have to keep studying. Don’t stop.
- The kids kept talking even though their teacher told them to stop.
- To keep your car running you have to take care of it.
- Keep your mouth shut. (Don’t say anything)
- Keep it under your hat. (Don’t say anything.)
- Keep going. (Continue onward)
- Keep the faith. (Believe in this.)
- Keep back. (Don’t come close. There’s danger.)
- Keep at it. (Don’t stop)
- Keep away. (Stay away.)
- Keep on keeping on. (Continue.)
- Keep up the good work. (Continue doing what you’ve been doing.)
Sometimes this word is used as a noun:
- He earns his keep as a bartender. (He makes enough money to take care of himself.)
- Is this for keeps? (Can I have this permanently?)
- Finders keepers losers weepers. (If you lose something, that’s too bad. Whoever finds it can have it.)
To learn more about using "keep" as a verb, click here.
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July 12, 2013