Language of ups and downs


Prepositions can be very annoying little words indicating location and positions but they are very useful. I have written a short story illustrating how useful I think they are, which you may find helpful.

Hello Alan,

(My almost ready letter just vanished. I am trying to repeat it.)

It is incredible that you can write so interesting story for teaching us these idioms of prepositions.The answer for this newsletter wasn’t a piece of cake. When I looked up in the dictionary I’ve got frightened how many expressions still exist. I carry with me your printed letter and I read several times to be familiar with these expressions.

I think I am familiar with them at last.

The lift operator when he says the lift has its ups and downs, he says it is okay it works. Not only the lift has ups and downs but there are ups and downs in life, changing fortune; the good and bad things that happen to a person.
Every business has its ups and downs.

After bad things we can feel down in the dumps.(=be depressed,unhappy)
-Rubbish dump is a place where rubbish taken and left.
-We can say there are dumps on the road that’s why it isn’t easy to drive.

If one feels down in the dumps it helps to down a glass of dry wine and at long last things might be on the up and up.= becoming more and more successful
He has been on the up and up since finishing his study.

It is entirely up to me. = to be for sb to decide ;
Shall we eat out or stay in? It’s up to you.
feel up to doing sth= to have the strength and energy to do or deal with;
You didn’t feel up climbing the stairs.

take/bring sb down a peg or two= to make sb realize that they are not as good, important as they think they are or to put a shame;
He needed to be taken down a peg or two. ( because he was very conceited and proud)

go down well-we say when my gesture was very acceptable to sb.
I let him gain in chess and it seemed to go down well.The question was: does it go down or not?

There is chance of my going up in the world. The young people’s great question of their going up in the world.
It seemed I find a way going up.

What’s up? =What’s the matter? What’s happening?

I felt he was up to something= he would do anything/ get up to something= to be busy with sth unpleasant

He was up to no good it means to make mischief whereas to do or say something deliberately to upset other people, or cause trouble between them.

to have a down on sb =to have a bad opinion of a person or a thing.
The surly engineer sounded as if he had down on everyone.

to be up and doing=to be very active and busy
I am very tired since I’ve been up and doing.= I’ve been on the go.

udown the drain[/u] = a complete waste of time
It’s just money down the drain if you buy this more expensive shoes.
His school spending has gone down the drain.

His spell of duty was almost up. = was about to end
My letter will be almost up.

They got down in earnest to exchanging the stories of their lives.
get down to sth = to begin to do sth; to give a serious attention to sth;
in earnest= more seriously with more force and effort than before.
Let’s get down in earnest to studying.= Begin to study more seriously.

He has been down and out = he was without money, a job, prospects and living on the streets/ he has come down;
A novel being down and out in London.

The firm he’d worked for started to go downhill./= was losing business; to get worse in business

His family was convinced it was all up with him.=that he’d no more chances of success/ he’s an unemployed man with no prospects

I’d been sold down the river= thoroughly cheated
to sell/trade sb down the river= to give poor or unfair treatment to sb you have promised to help;
I’m afraid you’ve been sold down the river.
I’ve been sold down the river by someone I trusted.
The Hungarian feel sold down the river by the government.

Best regards:
Kati Svaby