Did you hear the one about...

Up-sei daisy!


You lovers of the English language might enjoy this. There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP'.

What's up?

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?

11:50 2016-02-07

We call up our friends. And we use it to brighten up a room, polish up the silver, we warm up the leftovers and clean up the kitchen. We lock up the house and some guys fix up the old car 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.

And this up is befuddling: 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 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.

Americans (especially) like to up things; saddle up and then gee-up, toughen up and cowboy up, all used to give those lacking normal machismo the ability to man up.

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 wets the earth and often messes things up. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry up...

(It's up to you, but if you care to read up this page again, size it up and omit most of the ups makes no difference in the meaning.)

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

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