What’s Up, Doc?

This came across my e-mail recently and I just had to share it with you. English is truly an interesting language!

arrowThis two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is ‘UP.’ It is listed in the dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car.

At other times, this 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.

And 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 about the proper uses of UP, look UP the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.

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.

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 the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP. One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now . . . my time is UP!

Oh . . . one more thing: What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?


Did that one crack you UP?

Don’t mess UP. Send this on to everyone you look UP in your address book . . .. or not . . . it’s UP to you.

Now I’ll shut UP!

Published in: on June 21, 2013 at 7:07 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good information! I’m always amazed by the variations in the English language.

  2. Fascinating stuff, Heidi–but even more fascinating when I looked UP the etymology of various uses. For instance, it’s earliest use as a verb is from 1560 when it meant ‘to drive and catch swans’ while “shut up” hails from 1840, “up river” from 1774, “up and leave’ from 1643 and to mean ‘increase’ as in ‘up the price of something’ from 1915. Look’s like UP has been moving up in the world.

  3. Heidi – I loved this! Thanks for sharing. A beta reader told me I used waaayy too many ups in my next novel, Forgiving Effie Beck. I did a word search and each “up” was used correctly and in typically Texas style, but she was right – way too many of them. kcf

  4. Love it! How many of us give that simple ilttle word its just dues? I for one and UP until you posted this fun and interesting blog, Heidi, bet I had lots of company.

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