When a two letter word has a hundred completely different meanings, it disputes the rumor of the English language being easy to learn and understand. While the most popular two letter word in the world is currently ‘if’, there is another two letter word that is far more versatile. In fact, it has perhaps more meanings than any other two-letter word in the English language.
That word is ‘up’. It’s an easy word to understand, meaning toward the sky, or at the top of the list, but, when we waken in the morning, we also wake up. At a meeting, topics come up. We speak up, as officers and politicians come up for election.
Secretaries write up reports, we call up our friends and brighten up a room. We polish up the silver, we warm up the leftovers and clean up the kitchen. We lock up the house, and all guys love to fix up old cars.
At other times, the little word has real special meaning. Like when 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. Business people constantly seek to be one up, and when upset, we use a single finger to suggest another use for up.
Sometimes being up on up is really 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. 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.
We seem to be pretty mixed up about how to use up! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of up, look up the word up in the dictionary. In a desk size dictionary, the word up, takes up almost one quarter of the page, and its definitions add up to about thirty.
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. I could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it up, for now my time is up, so I’ll give up, and shut up! 🙂