I found the following sentence on a Youtube channel. It seems as though this is a causative sentence. However, I am not precisely sure about this as "up" is not a verb it is a preposition. That's why I cannot understand the grammatical structure of the sentence exactly. Therefore, I would be grateful if someone could explain this for me.

He has his back up against the wall.

Furthermore, I could find the following sentence by searching on fraze.it website. I can understand that without difficulty making the above sentence more confused.

You're up against the wall.




Can you understand "He has his hand on the table" or "He has his head between the railings"? The pattern of your sentence is essentially the same. "to have one's back (up) against the wall" can be literal, meaning that one's back is physically pressed against a wall, but it is also commonly an idiomatic expression, meaning to be in a difficult situation. Without more context it is not possible to know which is meant in your case.

dileepa It seems as though this is a causative sentence.

The verb have is tricky. It's not causative have in this case. I suppose you might call it experiential have. He is in a certain position. He is in certain circumstances.

dileepaHe has his back up against the wall.

~ He is in this position: His back is flat against (i.e., touching) the wall.

He has backed up (i.e., moved backwards) to the wall so far that his back is now touching the wall. He cannot back up (retreat) further. He is trapped.

Metaphorically, he is unable to do anything. He has no choices left to extract himself from a problematic situation.

He has his back up against the wall.
~ He has his back against the wall.
~ His back is up against the wall.
~ His back is against the wall.

~ He is up against the wall.
~ He is against the wall.

Similar constructions with experiential have:

I have my arm in a cast. (I broke it last week.)
She has her dog in a kennel. (She's on vacation.)
Bill has his money in a secret drawer.

These can be rephrased with "is" instead of "have" without changing the meaning much:

My arm is in a cast.
Her dog is in a kennel.
Bill's money is in a secret drawer.

In English there are many combinations of "particles of location" (up, down) followed by prepositions. These expressions are used more in relaxed conversation than in formal settings.

Where is that chair?
It's up against the wall. / It's down in the basement. / It's up in the attic.
Put the book up on that shelf. / That shop is down on Elm Street.


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Thank you very much for the answer. I re-watched the video and I could understand they refers that with the literal meaning. However, it is good for me to know that this phrase has an idiomatic meaning as well.

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Thank you very much for the answer. I really appreciate it.