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Write the Right Word: Down With Up

You’ve probably heard these statements, and maybe even uttered them: “Clean up your room.” “Eat up your vegetables or you can’t have dessert.” “Slice up the fruit.” “Finish up your homework now.”

What do they have in common? In every case, the “up” is unnecessary. The sentences make sense without it. They’re shorter without it, too.

One definition of “up” is to move toward or be in an elevated position. So the next time you’re tempted to add “up” to a command such as clean, slice or eat, remember the old adage: What goes up must come down. And you wouldn’t say “clean down,” “eat down” or “slice down.”

Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu

 

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