Ben Oostdam
story # 488


with thanks to Barbara
and unknown author!

Lovers of the English language might enjoy this: How do

non-natives ever learn all the nuances of English?

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings

than any other two-letter word, and 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 and we use it to 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.

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 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


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 UP the earth. When it doesn't rain for a while,

things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time

is UP, so ... Time to shut UP!
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