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Difference between Catch up on someone and Catch up with someone

catch up on someone

1. overtake and overcome a person:

  • The police caught up on the men just as they entered a dark archway.

2. have a marked effect on smb.:

  • I think his past is beginning to catch up on him.

3. (coll.) learn the news of a person:

  • I’ve had a visit from my friend John, and it was nice to catch up on him.

catch up with someone

1. get level with a person when one has been left behind:

  • Walk on ahead of me. I’ll catch up with you.

2. = catch up on someone 2:

  • Jet lag caught up with Joe and he slept for fourteen hours.

3. reach the same stage as smb. after lagging behind:

  • He’s working hard to catch up with the others.

4. make a person accountable for past deeds:

  • Gronevelt felt that the FBI would catch up with them sooner or later.

5. (coll.) meet with smb. for a casual chat:

  • “And what have you been up to?” “Nothing much. Catching up with a few people here.”