The word "up" is a common preposition, but it’s also used as part of many expressions, slang, and idioms.

In this first group of sentences and questions, "up" is used with the verb "be", and the meaning of the word varies:

  • Is he up yet? (Is he awake?)
  • Time’s up! (Time is over. You have to stop.)
  • Do you know what’s up? (Do you know what’s happening?)
  • You’re up. (You’re the next to go do something.)
  • Our lease is up. (Our lease has expired.)
  • I’m not sure what his salary is, but it’s up there. (His salary is high.)

The word "up" is found in many idioms:

  • She’s moving up in the company. (She’s improving her position in the company.)
  • Someone used up all of the toilet paper. (To use something up is to consume all of it.)
  • Let up on the accelerator. (Don’t drive so fast.)
  • Prices are going up. (Prices are increasing.)
  • Eat up. (Eat! There’s food in front of you. Eat it.)

It’s also commonly found in slang and expressions:

  • What’s up?
  • What up?
  • ‘Sup? (All three of these are the same: How’s it going?, but "What up?" and "Sup" are popular African-American slang versions.)

And of course, "up" is a preposition. Click here to see how "up" is used as a preposition.

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November 13, 2011