Up

'Up' has many functions in English including indicating location. In this lesson, we will discover all about this lesson.

How to Use "Up" in English?

'Up' performs many functions in English. It can be used as a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, and a preposition. In this lesson, we will discuss how to learn and use it.

Functions of 'Up'

'Up' as an Adverb

Use

When it comes to adverbs, we have different types of them. Below, we are going to analyze how 'up' can function as different kinds of adverbs in sentences:

'Up' as an Adverb of Direction and Movement

'Up' can function as an adverb of movement and direction. Look below:

  • We can use 'up' to show movement towards a higher direction:

These plates are up on that purple shelf.

I want this frame to be up on the wall.

  • When we want to show that something is raised or pulled out of the ground, we use 'up':

Joseph loves digging potatoes up.

A : Where's Alex?

B : He's in the garden, digging carrots up.

  • When we want to indicate that something is moving vertically, we can use 'up' to show the direction:

I want John to stand up and speak the truth.

You can sit up in bed and meditate for a few minutes everyday.

  • When we want to indicate the top position of something, we can use 'up':

Professor Brown's office is up on the second floor.

The meeting will be held up on the 20th floor.

  • When we want to indicate someone is moving close to something/someone else, we use 'up':

Smirking, the killer walked up to me and admired my courage.

Here, the sentence is showing that the killer moved closer to that person.

I'm not the kind of person to go up to strangers and have a conversation with them.

  • When we want to show that we are moving north, we can use 'up':

I'll be travelling up in the country next weekend.

They're going up now.

Position in a Sentence

Since we use 'up' here as an adverb of direction and movement, we must put them after the main verb to show us in what direction the action is taking place. Take a look at the following examples:

I think they're going up to see what happened.

Here, since the verb is transitive, the direct object has come between the verb and the adverb.

Sit up and tell me what has hurt you.

'Up' as an Adverb of Degree

When we want to show that something is increasing in amount or degree, we can use 'up' as an adverb of degree. Take a look at the following examples:

Turn it up, would you?

Here, it indicates that the volume must be increased.

Let's warm up a little and then start exercising.

Position in a Sentence

When we want to show the degree of the action taking place, we must put the adverb after the main verb. However, when we have phrasal verbs, we must put the direct object between the verb and the adverb:

The fire is heating me up.

The killing rate has been increased up to 20% in the past weeks.

Particles

Sometimes adverbs can join verbs and make completely different meanings. Adverbs no longer function as adverbs there, but they are called particles. Words like 'keep up', 'catch up', 'give up' and etc. are in this category. Below, we will learn all about them:

  • We can use 'up' with verbs like 'be', 'get' and 'stay' to show that someone is not in bed sleeping:

Anna, it's time to get up.

My friend and I stayed up late last night and watched 'Rosemary's Baby'.

  • When something exists and is visible, we can use 'up' with verbs like 'set', 'bring', 'come', 'show', and etc:

I was completely hopeless until your name popped up in my mind.

They were walking slowly when suddenly a wolf showed up in front of them.

  • When we want to indicate that some things are equal to one another in quality, knowledge and etc, we use 'up' with verbs like 'catch', and 'keep':

Sorry I wasn't able to catch up with the class yesterday.

With all the technological advancement, It's difficult for old people to keep up with modern life.

  • When we want to indicate that some things/people are together, we can use 'up' with verbs like 'add', 'gather', 'collect', and etc:

Add up his name to your list.

I cannot come on Wednesday because I want to gather up all my stuff.

  • When we want to hold something tightly in a position or cover something, we use 'up' with verbs like 'wrap', 'tie', and etc:

Mom, can you wrap up this present?

The letters were tied up to each other with a ribbon.

  • We can use 'up' with verbs like 'blow', 'cut', 'fold', 'smash' to show that something has been turned into smaller pieces:

The building was blown up after midnight

Write your number on a piece of paper, fold it up and hand it to me.

  • When we want to indicate that someone is growing older, we use 'up' with verbs like 'grow', 'bring' and etc:

Learning to become independent is part of growing up.

Bringing up children is a huge responsibility.

  • When we want to show that something is wrong, or when we sense a problem, we use 'up' with the verb 'be':

My daughter tells me that she feels something is up between you two.

Here, it means that there is a problem between two people.

Something's up with him. He is acting weird.

  • When a period of time has come to an end, we use 'up' with the verb 'be' to show it:

Hurry up! Time is up, ladies.

five minutes were up and nobody volunteered to ask a question.

  • When something has been improved into a better state or position, we use 'up' with verbs like 'move' and 'be':

Jeremy's office has been moved up next to the manager's office.

By the next summer, she will have moved up to the directors' position.

  • When something has ended, we use 'up' with verbs like 'end', 'finish' and 'round':

I will round up the meeting in a few minutes.

If she keeps pickpocketing, she will end up in prison.

  • When someone's hair is tied up, it is either on the top or on the back of their head:

Hannah looks cute with her hair up.

Tip!

It might be helpful to know that British speakers use 'up' with verbs when they want to talk about a trial in court or an unsuitable road for driving. Look:

Charlie is up for homicide.

That road is up because a car has fallen off into the valley.

Position in a Sentence

As it was stated, these adverbs or prepositions join verbs to make phrasal verbs. They mainly come after the subject in the sentence. If we have an auxiliary verb, phrasal verbs come after them. Notice that if we have an imperative sentence, we put the verb at the beginning of the sentence. Look:

Mary wants to finish up her work so as not to arrive late.

Dig up the potatoes in the garden.

Here, we have an imperative sentence and the verb is used at the beginning of the sentence.

'Up' as a Preposition

Another use of 'up' is to function as a preposition. Below, we are going to see the different kinds of prepositions it can be:

Use

'Up' as a Preposition of Direction and Movement

We can use 'up' as a preposition of direction and moevement. Look:

  • When we want to indicate that something/someone is in a higher position. Look:

With a bruise up his neck, he went out to look for food.

I could see a big cockroach up the ceiling.

  • When we want to show that something/someone is on the top of another, we can use 'up':

Jerry is standing up the stairs.

A : Have you seen Martha around here?

B : No, she might be up the ladder in the garden.

  • When we want to indicate that something is along something else:

She lives just up that boulevard.

They waved at us and shot off up the road.

Tip!

It might come in handy to know that British people sometimes use 'up' when they want to talk about going to a place. Look:

He is going up the club, isn't he?

Position in a Sentence

As you already know, prepositions come before nouns. We can put these prepositions at the beginning of the sentence, in the middle, or at the end of the sentence. Pay attention to the examples below:

Up the staircase, the mayor lectured us fifteen minutes straight.

As you can see, we can begin a sentence using a prepositional phrase.

The cat, up the cabinet, suddenly hit the vase and broke it.

As you can see, we mainly put the prepositional phrase after the subject.

I can see a lizard up the wall.

As you can see, we can also use the prepositional phrase after the object at the end of the sentence,

Warning!

Please note that whenever we use a prepositional phrase at the beginning or in the middle of the sentence, we must have commas. Study the following examples for more clarification:

Up the roof, I saw Martha and Lizzie talking.

When we begin a sentence with a prepositional phrase, we must have a comma after it.

The little girl, up the slide, was excited.

When we have a prepositional phrase in the middle of the sentence, we must put it between two commas.

'Up' as an Adjective

'Up' can also function as an adjective. In this part, we are going to see the different types of adjectives 'up' can be:

Use

'Up' as an Attributive Adjective

We can use 'up' to indicate that something is moving up. Look:

This is an up escalator.

There are no up escalators here ma'am. You have to use the stairs.

Position in a Sentence

Since 'up' is functioning as an attributive adjective here, it always comes before nouns. Look:

Where can we find the up escalator?

'Up' as a Predicative Adjective

  • When we want to indicate that a system, a computer, a machine and etc. is working properly, we use 'up':

You can use the computer once it is up.

When will the system be up again?

  • When someone is feeling happy, we use 'up' to describe them:

Hannah has been really up ever since she got that job.

I've been really up since I started my singing class.

Position in a Sentence

As you know, predicative adjectives are used after verbs. We can also put an intensifier before them to emphasize their effect. Look:

She's been really up after her birthday party.

Here, an intensifier has been used.

I want you to check if all systems are up.

'Up' as a Verb

Use

'Up' as a verb has two meanings. Below, we will analyze them and see how they are used:

  • One is to show an increase in something, especially a price:

In order to gain more profit, we'd better up the sale price.

The government has decide to ban upping tax rates.

  • We can also use 'up' to show that something happened unexpectedly. This one is used in informal contexts:

After dinner, they upped and left, without saying a word.

Mariana upped and broke up with me.

Position in a Sentence

As you know, verbs mainly come after the subject. Please note that if we have an imperative sentence, we mus begin the sentence with the verb. Look:

We will up the prices by the end of the month.

Here, an auxiliary verb has been used before the main verb.

The students upped and left the station.

'Up' as a Noun

Use

  • When we want to talk about a good thing or a positive mood, we use 'up' as a noun:

You can't always expect to have ups in your life.

Position in a Sentence

As you know, nouns can be used as the subject, object, or object of a preposition in a sentence. Look at the following examples:

If you only have ups in life, how can you change and become a better version of yourself?

Here, 'up' is functioning as the direct object in the sentence.

Ups and downs are what all people experience in this world.

Here, 'up' is used as the subject of a noun clause.

Idioms and Expressions with 'Up'

We have many idioms and expressions with 'up' in English. Below, we are going to learn all about them:

  • Up and down: This one is used to show that something moves from a higher position to a lower one repeatedly:

You have been jumping up and down from the moment you came here.

Isn't she tired of bouncing up and down for no particular reason?

  • Up and about/around: When someone is able to get out of bed and do stuff after a long period of sickness, we use this idiom:

She had a terrible accident last week but today she is up and about.

Although they had a traumatic evening yesterday, they are up and about this morning.

  • What's up: This one is used when greeting someone and when we want to ask about the problem:

What's up with Joe? He looks sad.

Hey everyone, what's up?

Here, the speaker is greeting some people.

  • What's up with: When we want to indicate that we do not understand what something/someone means, we use this idiom:

What's up with all the this noise?

What's up with all these sarcastic comments?

  • Up for something: When something/someone is intended or considered for something, we use this expression to show it:

I think he's up for that project.

That mansion up the hill is up for sale.

  • Up for doing something: When someone is willing to participate in something, we can use this expression:

She is up for doing the household chores.

They are up for going to the cinema tomorrow.

  • Be up yourself: When we want to indicate that someone thinks that they are better than others, we use this expression:

Bridgette is so up herself that she can no longer put herself in other people's shoes.

Being up myself is not something my therapist would appreciate.

  • On the up and up: When something is improving rapidly, we use this expression:

Maya's career has been on the up and up since her promotion.

His grades have been on the up and up since we changed his teacher.

  • Up in the air: When we are uncertain of something, we use this expression:

The future of the country is up in the air.

I know it's important to you but the result is still up in the air.

  • Up to par: When something/someone is functioning properly, we use this expression:

Jennifer has been up to par recently.

I don't think I've been up to par physically these past few weeks.

  • Up to scratch: When something is done properly and is based on specific standards:

What do you mean his last poem was not up to scratch?

Annabelle's last essay was written up to scratch.

  • Up to something: When someone is devising a plan we can use this expression. It can also mean that someone is able to do something:

I can sense she's up to something.

Here, the sentence is showing someone is planning something.

I know I have a lot to do but I'm just not up to it.

  • Up and running: When a system is working properly, we use this expression:

The computers are all up and running.

After a complete repair, the machine was up and running.

  • Ups and downs: When there are both good and bad experiences, we use this expression to refer to them:

I wish someone had told me about the ups and downs of living abroad.

Maria has had many ups and downs in her childhood.

  • Up to now: When we want to indicate that a situation has been in a particular way to the present moment, we use this expression:

Up to now, she hasn't called.

This expression is mostly used in negative sentences.

Up to now, they've received no news of our daughter.

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