The amazing English language

As an author, I try to make every written word I use vital to the story I’m telling. That’s because I can still remember being carried away by books when I was young girl. Can you remember the first book you ever read? I’m sure it was magical. Stories can take us to new worlds, broaden our minds, allow us to fall in love with people we don’t even know. All through the use of the right words.

The English language is pretty amazing, and some words do double and triple duty (and sometimes even more than that). But every now and then, it’s fun to get silly with English words. Like with the word “up.” Someone recently sent me this funny-but-true email I thought I’d share with you. I have no idea who originated this (or who did the research) but kudos to them:

“UP. This tiny, two-letter word can be a noun, verb, adjective, adverb or preposition.

It's easy to understand “up” meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we wake 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, brighten “up” a room, 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 different meanings. 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 something special.   

And this “up” is confusing:  A drain must be opened “up” because it is stopped “up.”

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of “up,” look “up” the word “up” in the dictionary. It can add “up” to about thirty definitions.   

When it threatens to rain, we say the sky is clouding “up.” When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing “up.” When it rains, the earth soaks it “up.”  When it does not rain for a while, things dry “up.”

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it “up” for now.”

Courtesy Disney Pixar

Okay, I’m back. I know that was a silly little exercise, but for me it really was an eye-opener in the many ways the English language can amaze us. No wonder foreign-speaking people find English so difficult to master! The clue in a recent Jumble in my local newspaper said, “When a tiger escaped from the zoo, there would be this until there was this.” The answer? “Apprehension.” See how tricky the English language can be?

I love words. Every author should. Words are powerful.

How about you? Was there a book you read that was so powerful you can remember it even to this day?


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