What’s UP?

It’s Wednesday and time for my regular guest Blogger to take over while I have a day off. Enjoy.

If someone says those two words to you how do you answer? I suppose it depends on what you think they mean? Do you interpret them as someone who is caring about your situation and wants to put an arm round you to comfort you? Or do you maybe see them as a kind of rebuke in which someone is trying to ask why you apparently can’t do something they thought you should be able to do? It’s all in the intonation of the voice as the words are spoken isn’t it?

Today I’m using these words a different way – to ask what is the word UP all about. In its basic sense it means “toward a higher place or state”. It’s the opposite of down. Let’s look at some of the many ways the word UP has come to be used and maybe ask yourself why when, in many cases, it could quite simply be left out:

1. Why do we wake UP?

2. At a meeting why does a subject come UP?

3. Why do we say to people, “Speak UP”?

4. Why are candidates UP for election and elected officials UP for re-election?

5. Why is it UP to someone to write UP a report on a meeting?

6. Why do we call UP (or ring UP) our friends?

7. Why do we say that we can brighten UP a room?

8. Why do we polish UP something (table, car, silver)?

9. Why do we warm UP leftover food and clean UP the kitchen?

10. Why do we lock UP the house?

11. Why do people fix UP an old car or machinery?

12. We say people stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite & think UP excuses

13. We say to be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is something special

14. Confusingly we say that a drain had to be opened UP because it had got blocked UP.

15. Why do we open UP a shop in the morning & close it UP at night?

16. Why do we move UP in a queue or sidle UP to someone when we are moving horizontally?

17. Why do we call a raid on a shop a hold UP or a stick UP?

18. Why do we fill UP the tank in our car with petrol/gas when we could just fill it?

19. When the sun comes out, after bad weather, we say it is clearing UP

20. Why do we often call a cooked breakfast a fry UP? And get told to eat UP our food?

21. Why do we brush UP on our knowledge of a subject?

22. Why can we sit UP when we’re actually sitting down?

23. Why can we look something UP in a book when we’re looking down at it?

24. Why do we drive UP the road or lane (or even the wall)?

25. Why do we dig UP plants/flowers in our garden when we’re obviously digging down?

In many, but not all, of those examples it is just as easy to miss the “UP” out and the meaning is still clear. We can just as easily “wake” as “wake up”, “warm” food as “warm up” food and so on.

I suppose you could say that we’re a bit mixed UP about UP. It takes UP a lot of space in a dictionary definition. If you’re UP to it you can try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will, though, take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with lots more than just the few I’ve given. Have a think of more examples as there must be many more than the 25 I’ve given.

I could go on and but I’ll wrap it UP now because my time is UP and it’s time to shut UP!

As I collected the different meanings I put them into a Word document so I could save them. And you know what I called the file don’t you? – “What’s UP.doc”. Now tell me what was that rabbit’s name again?

So then, what’s UP? – I’ll let you decide.

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One response to this post.

  1. At least, we can dress UP, as well as dress DOWN and we understand the meaning. But, I notice we brush our teeth, not brush UP our teeth, although, as you said, we must do some brushing UP to learn the proper way to brush our teeth.

    Reply

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