I recently received an email with the following passage –

“Lovers of the English language might enjoy this…

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, 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 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 UP the word in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th 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 the earth and often messes things UP. 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………it is time to (hush) UP!”

I found this really fascinating.  Mostly, because I had never thought of the word ‘up’ being so versatile before.  I think it’s mostly habit that we use it the way we do.

But, let’s face it, English is an incredibly complicated language to learn – you just have to try to teach a child to read to be reminded of that.   Did you know we actually do have the most complex language when it comes to speech and pronunciation?   We  have more than double the sounds than we do letters, where most languages are equal in sounds/letters or characters.

Not only that, we use various spellings to convey the same pronunciation as well as the same WORDS to describe different things.  No wonder kids are falling behind when it comes to literacy in school.  It takes an incredible amount of commitment and love to properly instill the english language into our little ones, but it is possible.  I promise.

And, just when you think you’re going crazy, re-visit the fact that you’re NOT crazy, in fact, it’s the language that has lost ‘its’ mind!!!

Not exactly the same thing - but close enough...