What's Up?

English is Easy? When a certain two-letter word has a hundred completely different meanings, what is this stuff about English being easy?

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word. That word is "UP!" It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of a list. Yet when we waken in the morning, why do we wake UP? If we couldn't sleep, we stayed UP. At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP? Why are public officials UP for election? Why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends. We use it when we change a bulb to brighten UP a room. We polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house. Some guys like to fix UP old cars. When we hear a song we like, we turn UP the volume. If you drop something, you must pick it UP. If you don't pick UP the dirty clothes, the laundry piles UP.

At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

Now this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable of the proper uses of UP, look UP the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk size dictionary, the word UP takes UP almost a quarter of the page and the number of definitions add UP to about thirty. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

We walk UP to a bar and ask for a drink straight UP. If you meet someone in that bar and leave with them, you have been picked UP. If a man is is visibly sexually aroused he is said to be UP and is expected to lie down. If we get sick from too much drinking, we are likely to throw UP.

In golf the lowest score is Up at the top of the leader board. If you have the highest score, you are bringing Up the rear. In baseball if you are the batter you are UP, but if you fail you are out. In football if a player scores a game- winning touchdown, his team is UP. In gambling when you raise the stakes you are said to UP the ante.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it soaks UP into the earth. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

Remember all those things your teacher used to put UP on the chalkboard? One of them was the rule that sentences could not end with a preposition. Now that I brought it UP, what's wrong with this sentence? "Shut UP." It's a perfectly good sentence, meeting the requirements of a sentence. There is a subject, although it is understood, and there is a predicate. "UP yours" is another example of a simple sentence, but this one has both the subject and the object understood.

What say you UP there, Grammar Gods? What's UP with that?

One could go on and on and keep it UP, but I'll wrap it UP, for now, because my time is UP, so............. I'll shut UP!

I hope this post was UP to your standards.

(I cannot take credit for the above, although I editted it and added to its content. When I found it, it was accredited to that most prolific of writers, Anonymous.)



Scary Monster said...

After reading this me is quite up in the air as to what you'll be up to in your next or upcoming post.

Well done, with lots of steak sauce.

Serena Joy said...

Well, that woke me UP. Shook me UP a bit, too. I'm expecting the UPs man tomorrow. I love him; he brings me stuff that perks me UP. What a fun post, Mike. It's right UP there.

cathy said...

erm I think it has something to do with phrasal verbs and possibly collocations. Sorry. Do I sound a bit UP myself? I'll shut UP.

Hale McKay said...

Don't shut UP, Cathy. We want an UPward mobility of our visitors and their comments as they pick us UP, and in turn run UP the site visitor meter.

Jack K. said...

I would add more, but I am not UP to it now.

Having read your comment ot cathy, I see what you are UP to. Was that a preposition at the end of that last sentence? lol