'up the road' versus 'down the road'

up the road / down the road
up the street / dowm the street

How do I make a choice between up and down, supposing that the street stretchs evenly?

It is a free choice if the road is level.

Really? How ruleless English is! I was guessing there be such differences as between coming and going, between southwards and northwards,etc.

Thank you, MM.

Nope. It may, however, be influenced by what your neighbors say. People have a tendency to use the same in the same stretch of the same street.

I just read such sentences from a teleplay script:

—A school bus drives [color=red]up the road. Friendly ‘Good Morning’ are exchanged between neighbors.

—A man bursts out of the building and makes off [color=red]down the road.

but, on the screen, I watched that the roads were level. :oops: :stuck_out_tongue:

In your examples, Iwanna, the use of ‘up’ and ‘down’ seems to imply that the subject is moving, respectively, closer to or further away from a certain place. It may not necessarily have anything to do with road slope.

Hi Iwanna,

Don’t you think ‘ruleless’ is wonderful! That means you can do what you like.

To answer your question I would say that the thought behind the use of ‘up’ or ‘down’ is instinctively your sense of north or south. Even if you don’t have a compass with you, it is something you sense.

I live just north of London and would say that someone living say in Manchester (north of London) lives ‘up north’ or someone living in Brighton (on the south coast) lives ‘down south’.

Figuratively we say that the stockmarket is ‘going north’ meaning prices are going up or ‘is going south’ means prices are going down.


I was guessing so. but, I am not able to determine whether the subject is moving ‘closer to’ or ‘further away’ throngh the video, because the camera keeps panning.

I want to know whether this could be taken as a common rule: ‘up’ implies coming close and ‘down’ means going off, or otherwise?

That’s helpful knowledge and a good guide for me. ‘Ruleless’ is wonderful indeed, but sometimes ‘ruleful’ is more practical, isn’t it? Thank you, Alan. :lol:

There’s no such rule, as far as I know. Some prepositions can have different meanings according to their context or the verbs used, for example.

I’ve got it. ‘ruleless’ is so wonderful. :lol:

Thank you,Conchita.

Imagine you are in point A and you’re asked how to get to the point B which lies north of A. There is a road that leads to B and it slightly goes down. What would you say in this case, “go up the road” (up - direction to the north) or “go down the road” (down - the road is not even)?

I also think that normally ‘up the road’ is towards the nearest town and ‘down the road’ is out of town. This must however be taken in context. If the road is indeed not level, ‘up the road’ would be up the hill, and vice versa.