When I was in high school, we had a foreign exchange student from Norway. She did pretty well here, having taken five years of book English before attempting Southern California spanglish-speckled English. She got most idioms fairly well, but was forever stumped on uh-Huh (yes) and Uh-uh (no). She couldn’t hear the difference between them. It came to mind when I got the following piece in email. I don’t know who wrote this, but if that someone wants to get in touch, I will be more than happy to give credit.
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is “UP.” It is listed in the dictionary as being used 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 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 a 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 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 i t rains, it wets UP the earth.
When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on & on, but I’ll wrap it UP , for now my time is UP , so ….
Time to shut UP …..!
Oh…one more thing:
What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night?