'Up on TV' versus 'On TV'


Could you please tell me which one of the following sounds more natural to you? Are all of them grammatically correct?

1- Last night a very good movie was up on TV.
2- Last night a very good movie was on TV.
3- Last night a very good movie was going on TV.


Only number 2 is good; nobody says 1 or 3.

Hi Uncle Canadian, :smiley:

Sorry to bother you again.
It happened to be my ‘favorite concern’, too. In fact, I always fancy and wonder, why prepositions like up and out, especially up, are used like a ‘panacea’ virtually with no limitations in whatever kind of sentences and expressions (with up involved phrasal verbs) by native speakers, particularly in oral English. Still, the more strange thing to me is, the more up is applied the more English-like or ‘English flavor’ is felt by me, a non-native speaker who even knows nothing about why it is used so often and so free. As to Tom’s questions here, I couldn’t help feeling that up on TV is a ‘cool’ English, even ‘cooler than’ on TV, even though I realized it was not grammatically correct. Could you help me with this problem of mine? Thank you.


I don’t know if I can help you. Maybe you just have to decide whether you want to speak ‘cool’ English or standard English.
Remember that, as a general rule, the less words you use the better. You should avoid adding unnecessary words.

Your answer is really ‘cool’! :smiley: I think I got your point: ‘cool’ English is not necessarily correct or good English. It’s up to us to make our choice. Thanks again! haihao

Hi Canadian45

Since the concept of “standard English” has been batted around in a few threads today, what’s your stand on saying something such as ‘less words’? Is that a standard and grammatical collocation? Non-standard? Informal? Formal? Slang?


Hi Tom

I agree that only your second sentence is natural and correct.

Hi Haihao

Those prepositions can be very confusing and difficult, can't they? I had a similar problem when I was learning German. German also adds prepostions to lots of verbs to make new verbs (and sometimes nouns, too.). 

When I was first learning German, I always had the feeling that I was saying things wrong if the verb I was using didn't have a preposition or some sort of prefix with it. As a result, I tended to add prepostions where none was needed. There are more than just a few Germans who have had a good laugh over some of the sentences I've created this way. For example, I once went to the bank and the English translation of what I said is: "[i]Can you please tell me what the [b]revolt[/b] in my account is?[/i]" Of course, I didn't want to use the word "revolt", I wanted to ask about my account "balance". But because I'd added a prepostion (prefix) to a word, I ended up changing the meaning entirely. :lol: 


Hi Amy
I would say that strictest word to describe “less words” is incorrect, although I probably use it myself on occassion. Less strong words would be nonstandard, nontraditional and controversial. Nonstandard seems to be my euphemism for incorrect.

To me, “informal/slang” are things like yep instead of yes, my old lady instead of my wife and a buck instead of a dollar.

Amy, is it again the case of ‘Ten items or less?’ from a Sainsbury’s store?
Or I’m mistaken?

Hi Tamara

I don’t think ‘the less words the better’ is quite the same thing. Although it’s not uncommon to encounter this usage, I think all grammar books would advise you to say ‘the fewer words the better’.

However, this “informal” or “nonstandard” use of less has been around for centuries. It isn’t used all the time and it isn’t used by everybody, but it’s also not uncommon.