Monday, October 17, 2011

Just throw some text at it

We've mused here before about the interesting "up" particle that can be added to so many verbs (man up, whip up, bulk up, eat it up, new up).* In Dilbert today, another appearance of the interesting "up":

This usage is not, I believe, the "up of completeness" -- eat up, drink it up. Rather, it's the "up" of "conjure [up]" -- whip (something) up, maybe even draw (a contract) up and make (something) up (?). There are subtle gradations of meaning here that might or might not all be the same.

Anyway, I like this a lot. Perhaps because there's been more than one time when I was indeed called upon to "word something up."

* And not just here; see also Fritinancy.


Jonathon said...

It seems like it's not quite the same "up" of "drink it up", as you said. It seems to signal that there's an end goal to the activity. Rather than just drawing something or wording something, which could go on indefinitely, you draw it or word it until you reach some sort of end goal. I'm a little rusty on my semantics terminology, but I think it shows that what is normally a durative verb is being used as a resultative verb.

WordzGuy said...

Yeah, I find the semantics of "up" for anything other than completion to be a bit slippery. Not because they are slippery, but because I haven't thought and/or read about them enough. Now you've given me a couple of things to go investigate. :-)