Tag Archives: idioms
In the second in our series of posts about the true meaning of prepositions in English, we examine the word up and look at how native speakers perceive the word both in isolation or as a particle in a phrasal verb.
Up – It’s real meaning
In this blog, I will demonstrate that the meaning of up is literally a direction (i.e. the opposite of down). Additionally, after hundreds of years of linguistic evolution, it has come to form part of a variety of what are known as phrasal verbs, frequently with a meaning that falls into one of the following categories:
- reconciliation/achieving parity
To End Up
Meaning: To finally be in a palce or a situation.
Remember that this phrasal verb cannot be split by it’s particle.
To Bring something up
See also: to mention, to discuss, to vomit
This verb follows the structure: to bring up + object. It is usual for this phrasal verb to be split by its object.
Example: I had hoped that he wouldn’t bring up the argument that we had last week.
A “white elephant” is an idiom for a valuable but demanding possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of maintenance) is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth. The term derives from the story that the kings of Siam (now Thailand) used to give one of these animals as a gift to people they didn’t like, in order to financially ruin that person by the cost of its maintenance. The white elephant was considered sacred in Siamese culture so could not work and was therefore costly to its owner. In modern usage, it is an object, scheme, business venture, facility, etc., considered to be without use or value.