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  1. Newbie
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    What does "up" mean?

    I am reading a Harry Potter fan fiction.

    Hermione go back in time when Tom Riddle is a student.
    She get to be in Hogwarts as a year seven pupil. (as Dumbledore's niece. Aberforth Dumbledore adopt her. so her name become Hermione "Dumbledore". not Hermione "Granger".)

    On Hogsmeade weekend trip Hermione go to the Hog's Head of Aberforth with McGonagall.
    Tom Riddle also go there with Cygnus Black and Abraxas Malfoy.
    After Hermione left, Aberforth ask the boys.
    "Does she seem happy up at school?"

    What does "up" mean?

    Actually, I have asked on other sites.
    And I got many answers.

    Someone answered that they think that up there is just an idiom of that particular, unspecified regional dialect. and the phrase just means "Does she seem happy at school?".

    Someone answered that In the sentence it essentially has no meaning. so I could understand it to mean exactly the same thing as "Does she seem happy at school?"

    Someone answered that using 'up' or 'down' emphasizes that the fact that the difference in location is significant. Reading "happy up at school", they'd assume it was a boarding school, not the local school in town. because it emphasizes the fact that school is a significantly different place. If the phrase was just "happy at school", it would tell them nothing either way about a boarding school of a local one.

    Someone answered that they believe it's quite an old usage(of affectation). (because they've never heard the term 'up at school' used like it. but they have heard 'up to' in relation to Oxford of Cambridge universities.) and they would say that the example refers to the character's time at school or college. (they have googled "happy up at school" and he got each of search results seemed to imply a residential stay. away from home. Much like the experience of a university student going up to Oxford.)

    Someone answered it doesn't really mean much and in modern sentence it would not be used it there. It maybe an old convention especially linked to sending kids away to boarding schools. Maybe people who send their kids to residential schools use it still, but they do not know.

    I am confused.
    I really want to know what "up" means actually.

    Thank you very much.
    Last edited by Ruaah; 25-Aug-2014 at 08:47. Reason: corrected spelling

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: What does "up" mean?

    Who knows? Fan fiction is often not the best example of writing you'll find and the subtleties you're looking for may not exist. One more explanation is that the school is at a higher elevation than the village.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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