Today is Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hearts and Flowers with Ups and Downs

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By ANNE DONNELL

Dear Anne, This is not an important question, but I’m asking it anyway. Why do we say things like “raise up” instead of just “raise”? Why the “up” (or “down”)?  Thank you, -Friendly Wonderer You’ve asked a good question, and we’ll get around to an answer, but let’s note that we’re about to reach Valentines Day [or Valentine’s Day] and all the roses and chocolates implied thereupon. Thereupon - that’s some lawyer talk for free (well, I’m not an attorney, so I must have overheard or overread that.  I made up overread; I think it means reading something that’s none of your business and therefore extremely interesting, and probably reading this over someone’s shoulder or upside down from the opposite side of a desk or table.  Alternate meaning: the act of having done too much reading. The latter would make this a popular word for people in grades three-twelve and college. Also, for English teachers grading essays. So, add it to your vocabulary with my blessing, naturally.

In the spirit of making up words, a former boss came up with overlooktion (possibly spelled overlooksion) during the morning announcements – you remember, schoolwide, over the PA.  Overlooktion (or, if you prefer, overlooksion) has such a merry touch to it, hard to resist throwing into a conversation with a pompous or thickheaded person. And pompous or thickheaded (could overlap) people make up a not inconsiderable segment of the population, don’t you think?

Well, remembering that bit of romantic doggerel, alas now quite outdated: First comes love/Then comes marriage/Then comes [fill in the name of the person you are taunting in the good old spirit of America’s first battleground: the elementary school playground] with a baby carriage, today’s ONLINE DEPARTMENT has to do with children.

 “Children Are Quick” (Thanks, DW) •TEACHER:  Maria, go to the map and find North  America. MARIA:  Here it is. TEACHER: Correct.  Now class, who discovered  America? CLASS:  Maria. •TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor? JOHN:   You told me to do it without using tables. •TEACHER:  Glenn, how do you spell “crocodile?” GLENN:  K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L TEACHER:  No, that's wrong GLENN:  Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it. •TEACHER:  Donald, what is the chemical formula for water? DONALD: H I J K L M N O. TEACHER:  What are you talking about? DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.  •TEACHER:   Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago. WINNIE: Me! •TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty? GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are. • TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with “' I.” MILLIE:  I is... TEACHER:  No, Millie. Always say, “I  am”' MILLIE: All right. “I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.” • TEACHER:  George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it.  Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him? LOUIS:  Because George still had the axe in his hand. • TEACHER: Now,  Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers  before eating? SIMON:   No sir, I don't have to, my mom is a good cook.  • TEACHER:  Clyde, your composition, “'My Dog,” is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his? CLYDE:  No, sir. It's the same dog. • TEACHER:   Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested? HAROLD:  A teacher.

So, to business.  What our QP of T (Question Person of Today) has asked about is our use of phrasal verbs.

The old time definition of phrasal verb is a verb more than one word long, combining one or more auxiliary verbs with a “main” verb, like have been doing, is being examined.  However by 2005, George J. M. Lamont defines a phrasal verb as, “…a verb that takes a complementary particle, in other words, an adverb resembling a preposition, necessary to complete a sentence.  A common example is the verb to fix up. (from The Historical Rise of the English Phrasal Verb) Note Lamont says “an adverb resembling a preposition.”  (What is this?  Halloween dress up?)  

A phrasal verb looks like these EXAMPLES: made up, showed up, fell down, looked up, write up, pick up, broke out, broke down, broke in.  Note the meanings of the verbs can change with the particles.  Raise up doesn’t need the up, but any policeman (or criminal lawyer) can tell you that break up differs from break in. There’s also the consideration that the same phrasal verb differs in meaning.  Consider these two sentences.  Look up at that guy on top of the building.  Look up the definition in the dictionary.

Up dates to eighth century and down to thirteenth.   The particle’s sticking on to verbs is not surprising because English has stubbornly resisted the tendency of other languages, e.g., Latin, to have the particle unexpressed but understood in the meaning of the verb. 

Well, sniff up your roses and chow down your chocolates and wave around your diamonds, but hide away those heart-covered under shorts!

A Little Word Surprise in Ths Season of Romance: matrimony, goes back to mater, Latin for mother.  Mater eventually became used for woman, and matrimony means something like bound to a woman.  Well, we get the jewels, and the guys get the plain gold band.  But then, we have the babies.  OK, men get the remotes. 

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