Grammar You Could Look It Up |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

You Could Look It Up

I hope you enjoy this. Thanks to Peter H. for sending it.

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, 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,
and 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 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 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!


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5 responses to “You Could Look It Up

  1. Wayne says:

    I love your site, I’ve bought your book, and I visit your blog weekly. Excellent work; everyone should know you.

  2. ravi bedi says:

    I am warming up to your site. Up till now I was not up to writing, because my English was not up to the mark. After going through your site, I am up to doing some writing. Thereafter it’s up to the reader whether he or she likes it or not. I am not about to give up that easily, just because my English is not up to Jane’s standards. I am up to my neck with stories; it’s entirely up to me when I get down to it.

  3. ravi bedi says:

    I admire you more than you can imagine!

    Thanks a lot. Warm regards.

  4. Jane says:

    Good for you, Ravi. The more you have courage, the better your English skills will become. I admire you.

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