Sunday, July 01, 2012

English is a Funny Language

by Donna K. Weaver

Isn't the English language just the quirkiest thing? I got the following in an email a few years ago, but I don't know where this originated.

There is a two letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two letter work, and that 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, 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 and 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 a quarter 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 could 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 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, for now my time is up, so….

Time to shut up . . . !


farawayeyes said...


nutschell said...

man! That is a versatile word!

Anonymous said...

You've got me thinking. That short, two letter word has many uses.