Difference Between
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Upon vs. Up: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 27, 2023
"Upon" typically denotes being on or above something, often suggesting a connection or an action, whereas "Up" refers to a higher position or movement in an upward direction.
Upon vs. Up

Key Differences

"Upon" is a preposition used to indicate a position on or physical contact with a surface or object, often implying a movement towards or an action associated with it. In contrast, "Up" is an adverb or adjective describing a direction or position that is higher in elevation, often used to denote movement away from the ground or a lower position.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
"Upon" often conveys a figurative or literal placement, signifying an action performed with a specific focus or target, as in "stumbling upon a discovery." "Up," however, typically signifies an increase or improvement, like in "cheering up," where the direction or motion is secondary to the concept of elevation or enhancement.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
In literature and speech, "Upon" can introduce a condition or situation, implying a consequential relationship, such as "upon reflection." On the other hand, "Up" often indicates completion or finality, as in "summing up," where the emphasis is on concluding or bringing things to a higher level of understanding.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
"Upon" is used in more formal or literary contexts, adding a sense of gravity or solemnity to the phrase, like "once upon a time." In contrast, "Up" is versatile and informal, used in everyday language to describe physical movements, moods, or states, as in "waking up."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
In expressions, "Upon" tends to form part of a set phrase or idiom, often remaining unchanged in different contexts, for example, "insist upon." Conversely, "Up" is dynamic, adapting to various contexts, like "up the ante," where its meaning can vary significantly.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Preposition
Adverb, Adjective
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Usage Context

Formal, Literary
Informal, Everyday
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Connotation

Position on, Contact with
Higher Position, Upward Movement
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Typical Associations

Connection, Action
Direction, Elevation
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Dec 27, 2023

Examples

"Once upon a time..."
"Jumping up in excitement"
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
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Function in a Sentence

Introduces conditions, actions
Indicates direction, state change
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Dec 27, 2023

Upon and Up Definitions

Upon

In the context of being engaged in something
She focused upon her work.
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Up

At or to a higher level of intensity
Turn the volume up.
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Upon

Indicating immediacy or consequence
Upon hearing the news, she smiled.
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Dec 27, 2023

Up

In or to a higher position
Looking up.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
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Upon

Denoting a base or foundation
The decision was made upon solid evidence.
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Up

In a direction opposite to the center of the earth or a comparable gravitational center
Up from the lunar surface.
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Upon

Signifying physical contact
He placed the book upon the shelf.
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Dec 27, 2023

Up

In or to an upright position
Sat up in bed.
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Upon

Used to express a temporal relation
Upon the stroke of midnight, the party ended.
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Up

Above a surface
Coming up for air.
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Upon

On
The leaves are scattered upon the grass. He put the book upon the table. Upon hearing the news, we all cheered.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

So as to detach or unearth
Pulling up weeds.
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Upon

Physically above and in contact with.
Place the book upon the table.
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Up

Above the horizon
As the sun came up.
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Upon

Physically directly supported by.
The crew set sail upon the sea.
She balanced upon one foot.
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Up

Into view or existence
Draw up a will.
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Upon

Being followed by another so as to form a series.
Hours upon hours, years upon years, mile upon mile of desert
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Up

Into consideration
Take up a new topic.
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Upon

At (a prescribed point in time).
The contract was rendered void upon his death.
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Up

In or toward a position conventionally regarded as higher, as on a scale, chart, or map
Temperatures heading up.
Up in Canada.
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Upon

On.
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Up

To or at a higher price
Stocks that are going up.
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Upon

On; - used in all the senses of that word, with which it is interchangeable.
Our host upon his stirrups stood anon.
Thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar.
The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.
As I did stand my watch upon the hill.
He made a great difference between people that did rebel upon wantonness, and them that did rebel upon want.
This advantage we lost upon the invention of firearms.
Upon the whole, it will be necessary to avoid that perpetual repetition of the same epithets which we find in Homer.
He had abandoned the frontiers, retiring upon Glasgow.
Philip swore upon the Evangelists to abstain from aggression in my absence.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

So as to advance, increase, or improve
Our spirits went up.
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Up

With or to a greater intensity, pitch, or volume
Turn the sound up.
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Up

Into a state of excitement or turbulence
Stir up.
Rouse up.
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Up

Completely; entirely
Drank it up in a gulp.
Fastened up the coat.
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Up

Used as an intensifier of the action of a verb
Typed up a list.
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Up

So as to approach; near
Came up and kissed me.
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Up

To a stop
Pulled up in front of the station.
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Up

Each; apiece
The score was tied at 11 up.
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Up

Apart; into pieces
Tore it up.
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Up

(Nautical) To windward.
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Up

Being above a former position or level; higher
My grades are up. The pressure is up.
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Up

Out of bed
Was up by seven.
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Up

Standing; erect.
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Up

Facing upward
Two cards up, one down.
The up side of a tossed coin.
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Up

Raised; lifted
A switch in the up position.
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Up

Moving or directed upward
An up elevator.
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Up

Marked by increased excitement or agitation; aroused
Our fighting spirit was up.
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Up

(Informal) Cheerful; optimistic; upbeat.
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Up

(Slang) Happily excited; euphoric
After receiving the award, the performer was really up.
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Up

(Informal) Taking place; going on
Wondered what was up back home.
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Up

Being considered; under study
A contract that is up for renewal.
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Up

Running as a candidate.
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Up

On trial; charged
The defendant is up for manslaughter.
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Up

Having been finished; over
Your time is up.
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Up

Prepared; ready
Had to be up for the game.
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Up

Well informed; abreast
Not up on sports.
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Up

Functioning or capable of functioning normally; operational
Their computers are now up.
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Up

(Sports) Being ahead or at a numerical advantage over one's opponent
Up two strokes in golf.
Up one man during the power play.
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Up

(Baseball) At bat.
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Up

As a bet; at stake.
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Up

(Nautical) Bound; headed
A freighter up for Panama.
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Up

From a lower to or toward a higher point on
Up the hill.
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Up

Toward or at a point farther along
Two miles up the road.
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Up

In a direction toward the source of
Up the Mississippi.
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Up

(Nautical) Against
Up the wind.
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Up

An upward slope; a rise.
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Up

An upward movement or trend.
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Up

(Slang) A feeling of excitement or euphoria.
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Up

To increase
Upped their fees.
Upping our output.
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Up

To raise to a higher level, especially to promote to a higher position.
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Up

(Nautical) To raise
Up anchor.
Up sail.
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Up

To get up; rise.
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Up

Away from the surface of the Earth or other planet; in opposite direction to the downward pull of gravity.
I looked up and saw the airplane overhead.
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Up

To or at a physically higher or more elevated position.
All day we climbed up and up.
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Up

To a higher level of some quantity or notional quantity, such as price, volume, pitch, happiness, etc.
Gold has gone up with the uncertainty in the world markets.
Turn it up, I can barely hear it.
Listen to your voice go up at the end of a question.
Cheer up, the weekend's almost here.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

To or in a position of equal advance or equality; not short of, back of, less advanced than, away from, etc.; usually followed by to or with.
I was up to my chin in water.
A stranger came up and asked me for directions.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

(intensifier) Used as an aspect marker to indicate a completed action or state; thoroughly, completely.
I will mix up the puzzle pieces.
Tear up the contract.
He really messed up.
Please type up our monthly report.
Drink up. The pub is closing.
Can you sum up your research?
The meteor burned up in the atmosphere.
I need to sew up the hole in this shirt.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

To or from one's possession or consideration.
I picked up some milk on the way home.
The committee will take up your request.
She had to give up her driver's license after the accident.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

North.
I live in Florida, but I'm going up to New York to visit my family this weekend.
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Up

Towards or at a central place, or any place that is visualised as 'up' by virtue of local features or local convention, or arbitrarily, irrespective of direction or elevation change.
We travelled from Yorkshire up to London.
I'm going up to the other end of town.
He lives up by the railway station.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

(rail transport) Towards the principal terminus, towards milepost zero.
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Up

Aside or away, so as no longer to be present or in use.
To lay up riches; put up your weapons
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Up

(sailing) Against the wind or current.
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Up

(Cartesian graph) In a positive vertical direction.
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Up

(cricket) Relatively close to the batsman.
The bowler pitched the ball up.
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Up

Without additional ice.
A Cosmopolitan is typically served up.
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Up

To university, especially to Cambridge or Oxford.
She's going up to read Classics this September.
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Up

Toward the top of.
The cat climbed up the tree.
They walk up the steps.
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Up

Toward the center, source, or main point of reference; toward the end at which something is attached.
The information made its way up the chain of command to the general.
I felt something crawling up my arm.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

From south to north of.
We sailed up the East Coast of England from Ipswich to South Shields.
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Up

Further along (in any direction).
Go up the street until you see the sign.
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Up

From the mouth towards the source of (a river or waterway).
He led an expedition up the Amazon.
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Up

Of a man: having sex with.
Phwoar, look at that bird. I'd love to be up her.
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Up

(colloquial) At (a given place, especially one imagined to be higher or more distant from a central location).
I'll see you later up the snooker club.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

Facing upwards.
Turn the cloth over so that the patterned side is up.
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Up

On or at a physically higher level.
The flood waters are up again across large areas of the country.
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Up

Headed or designated to go upward (as an escalator, stairway, elevator etc.) or toward (as a run-up).
Where is the up escalator?
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Up

Fitted or fixed at a high or relatively high position, especially on a wall or ceiling.
All the notices are up now.
The Christmas decorations are up.
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Up

(by extension) Available to view or use; made public; posted.
Is your new video up yet? I looked on the website, but I couldn't find it.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

Aloft.
The kite is up!
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Up

Raised; lifted.
The castle drawbridge was up.
Don't go into the living room just now – I've got the carpet up.
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Up

Built, constructed.
Are the new buildings up yet?
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Up

Standing; upright.
The audience were up and on their feet.
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Up

(obsolete) Risen up, rebelling, in revolt.
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Up

Awake and out of bed.
I can’t believe it’s 3 a.m. and you’re still up.
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Up

(horse-racing) Riding the horse; mounted.
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Up

(of the sun or moon) Above the horizon, in the sky.
It'll get warmer once the sun's up.
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Up

Larger; greater in quantity, volume, value etc.
Sales are up compared to last quarter.
My temperature is up this morning.
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Up

Indicating a larger or higher quantity.
The barometer is up, so fine weather should be on the way.
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Up

Ahead; leading; winning.
The home team were up by two goals at half-time.
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Up

Finished, to an end
Time is up!
Her contract is up next month, so it's time to negotiate another one.
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Up

In a good mood.
I’m feeling up today.
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Up

(usually in the phrase up for) Willing; ready.
If you are up for a trip, let’s go.
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Up

Next in a sequence.
Smith is up to bat.
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Up

(not used attributively) Happening; new; of concern. See also what's up, what's up with.
What's up, bro?
What is up with that project at headquarters?
When I saw his face, I knew something was up.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

Said of the higher-ranking pair in a two pair.
AAKK = aces up
QQ33 = queens up
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Up

Well-informed; current.
I’m not up on the latest news. What’s going on?
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Up

(computing) Functional; working.
Is the server back up?
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Up

(of a railway line or train) Traveling towards a major terminus.
The London train is on the up line.
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Up

Chilled and served without ice.
Would you like that drink up or on ice?
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Up

(slang) Erect. en
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Up

Well-known; renowned
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Up

(uncountable) The direction opposed to the pull of gravity.
Up is a good way to go.
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Up

(countable) A positive thing, or a time or situation when things are going well.
I hate almost everything about my job. The only up is that it's so close to home.
There are many ups to caravanning, but also many downs.
I've been on an up all this week.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

(particle physics) An up quark.
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Up

An upstairs room of a two story house.
She lives in a two-up two-down.
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Up

To physically raise or lift.
We upped anchor and sailed away.
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Up

To increase the level or amount of.
If we up the volume, we may be able to hear what he says.
As usual, they've upped the prices for Valentine's Day.
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Up

To promote.
It wasn’t long before they upped him to Vice President.
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Up

To rise to a standing position; hence, by extension, to act suddenly; see also up and.
She was sitting there quietly, then all of a sudden she upped and left.
He just upped and quit.
He upped and punched that guy.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

To ascend; to climb up.
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Up

To upload.
100 new apps and games have just been upped.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

Aloft; on high; in a direction contrary to that of gravity; toward or in a higher place or position; above; - the opposite of down.
But up or down,By center or eccentric, hard to tell.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

From a lower to a higher position, literally or figuratively; as, from a recumbent or sitting position; from the mouth, toward the source, of a river; from a dependent or inferior condition; from concealment; from younger age; from a quiet state, or the like; - used with verbs of motion expressed or implied.
But they presumed to go up unto the hilltop.
I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up.
Up rose the sun, and up rose Emelye.
We have wrought ourselves up into this degree of Christian indifference.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

In a higher place or position, literally or figuratively; in the state of having arisen; in an upright, or nearly upright, position; standing; mounted on a horse; in a condition of elevation, prominence, advance, proficiency, excitement, insurrection, or the like; - used with verbs of rest, situation, condition, and the like; as, to be up on a hill; the lid of the box was up; prices are up.
And when the sun was up, they were scorched.
Those that were up themselves kept others low.
Helen was up - was she?
Rebels there are up,And put the Englishmen unto the sword.
His name was up through all the adjoining provinces, even to Italy and Rome; many desiring to see who he was that could withstand so many years the Roman puissance.
Thou hast fired me; my soul's up in arms.
Grief and passion are like floods raised in little brooks by a sudden rain; they are quickly up.
A general whisper ran among the country people, that Sir Roger was up.
Let us, then, be up and doing,With a heart for any fate.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

To or in a position of equal advance or equality; not short of, back of, less advanced than, away from, or the like; - usually followed by to or with; as, to be up to the chin in water; to come up with one's companions; to come up with the enemy; to live up to engagements.
As a boar was whetting his teeth, up comes a fox to him.
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Oct 19, 2023

Up

To or in a state of completion; completely; wholly; quite; as, in the phrases to eat up; to drink up; to burn up; to sum up; etc.; to shut up the eyes or the mouth; to sew up a rent.
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Up

Aside, so as not to be in use; as, to lay up riches; put up your weapons.
Up, up, my friend! and quit your books,Or surely you 'll grow double.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

From a lower to a higher place on, upon, or along; at a higher situation upon; at the top of.
In going up a hill, the knees will be most weary; in going down, the thihgs.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

From the coast towards the interior of, as a country; from the mouth towards the source of, as a stream; as, to journey up the country; to sail up the Hudson.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Upon.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

The state of being up or above; a state of elevation, prosperity, or the like; - rarely occurring except in the phrase ups and downs.
They had their ups and downs of fortune.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Inclining up; tending or going up; upward; as, an up look; an up grade; the up train.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Raise;
Up the ante
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Being or moving higher in position or greater in some value; being above a former position or level;
The anchor is up
The sun is up
He lay face up
He is up by a pawn
The market is up
The corn is up
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Getting higher or more vigorous;
Its an up market
An improving economy
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Extending or moving toward a higher place;
The up staircase
A general upward movement of fish
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

(usually followed by `on' or `for') in readiness;
He was up on his homework
Had to be up for the game
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Open;
The windows are up
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

(used of computers) operating properly;
How soon will the computers be up?
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Used up;
Time is up
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Out of bed;
Are they astir yet?
Up by seven each morning
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Spatially or metaphorically from a lower to a higher position;
Look up!
The music surged up
The fragments flew upwards
Prices soared upwards
Upwardly mobile
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

To a higher intensity;
He turned up the volume
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Nearer to the speaker;
He walked up and grabbed my lapels
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

To a more central or a more northerly place;
Was transferred up to headquarters
Up to Canada for a vacation
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

To a later time;
They moved the meeting date up
From childhood upward
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Up

Towards a higher position
He climbed up the ladder.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Up

Into a state of completion
She finished writing up her report.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Up

To a better or happier state
Her spirits perked up.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Up

Indicating movement away from the earth’s surface
The balloon floated up.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can "upon" indicate time?

Yes, it can signify a temporal relation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Is "up" formal or informal?

Generally informal.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Does "upon" always require physical contact?

No, it can be figurative.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Can "up" indicate completion?

Yes, as in "finishing up."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Is "upon" interchangeable with "on"?

Sometimes, but "upon" is more formal.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

What part of speech is "upon"?

Preposition.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Is "up" used only for physical direction?

No, it's used for direction, state changes, and intensity levels.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Does "up" have a positive connotation?

Often, especially when indicating improvement or elevation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Can "up" be an adjective?

Yes, as in "up stairs."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Is "upon" commonly used in modern speech?

Less so, more common in formal or literary contexts.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Can "upon" signify consequence?

Yes, as in "upon reflection."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Does "up" always mean physically upwards?

No, it can be metaphorical.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Is "upon" used in idioms?

Yes, in many set phrases.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Does "up" have a singular meaning?

No, its meaning varies with context.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Is "up" versatile in its use?

Yes, it's used in various contexts.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Does "upon" add formality to a sentence?

Yes, it often adds a formal tone.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Can "upon" introduce conditions?

Yes, particularly in formal contexts.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Does "upon" have literary significance?

Yes, often used in literature.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Is "up" common in everyday language?

Very common in everyday use.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Can "up" be used in idiomatic expressions?

Yes, like "up the ante."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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