Fed Up with Up

Up, Up, and Away could be the title of a sequel to Literally, the Best Language Book Ever. Rather than a book with 350-plus words, phrases, and expressions that you should never use again, it would be a book with 350-plus up words that you should never use again. I’m not saying that the new book would be as good, but it would be useful nonetheless.

Cooks are constantly chopping up vegetables instead of chopping vegetables, baking up cookies instead of baking them (sometimes, to be fair, they bake off their cookies, which is equally inarticulate), roasting up their chickens instead of roasting them, frying up their fritters instead of frying their fritters, boiling up their pasta instead of boiling it, and browning up their onions instead of browning them. It’s not just chefs; otherwise, we could blame it on too much heat in the kitchen.

Out of the kitchen, people use up their paper towels rather than use them. The grass is beginning to green up rather than turn green. In a couple of months, the baking sun will mean that the grass is beginning to brown up rather than turn brown. They change up (sometimes, they change out instead) the curtains for the summer, and they talk about how it’s beginning to cloud up instead of beginning to get cloudy.

And don’t even get me started on the new trend of saying things like “man up” or “lawyer up.” I don’t want the sequel to be a two-volume set.


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