Grammar point “UP”

The grammar point “up” has many usesGoing Up

A business colleague of mine recently sent me this entertaining grammar point “up.”  Non-native speakers of English may be surprised to know the word “up” can be a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb or even a preposition depending on the context.

“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 (if there is a tie, it is a toss UP) and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car.

At other times, this 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 blocked 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 UP 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 (UP to) 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 soaks UP the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP. One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now . . . my time is UP!

Oh . . . one more thing: What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?



Now it’s time to shut Up!”

N.B.  Although my colleague didn’t cite the source of the grammar point “up”, I found a link to this site.

“Up” Quiz

Complete the following sentences with the best grammar point “up,”  using the right grammatical form.  Write down your answers before checking our suggested answers.

1.  We sometimes gossip about our colleagues at work which can __________ trouble.

2.  It’s important to  __________ and give your point of view at business meetings.

3.  At the company’s monthly press conference this morning a touchy topic __________.

4.  My boss always __________ meetings with a humorous comment.

5.  Our team __________ many interesting solutions at our weekly brainstorming session.



1. stir up, 2. speak up, 3. came up, 4. winds up, 5. thought up





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