So what’s this stuff about English being easy? Consider the fact that we have one little two-letter word in our language that has dozens of meanings and can be used as an adverb, adjective, preposition and noun. That word is “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?
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 some guys fix UP the old car. Then there are the folks who 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’s 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 become more knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look UP the word in the dictionary. If you’re 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. (And it may drive you UP a wall.)
When it threatens to rain, we say it’s clouding UP. Then, when the sun comes out, we say it’s clearing UP. When it rains, it wets UP the earth. When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, because my time is UP, so….I’ll just shut UP!