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    • Join Date: Apr 2004
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    #1

    "up" and "down" always puzzle me.

    Dear teachers,
    plz read the following sentence:
    The church is down the street from the hospital.
    What does "down" mean here? What does the sentence mean?
    other examples:
    We walked down the street.
    why "down" here?
    some books on learning English hold that "up" means toward north and "down" means toward "south". is it ture?
    and sometimes I assume that maybe the road is not flat, so up means toward the higher part and down means toward the lower part, like a slope.
    but other books say if you walk from street No. 4 (small number) to street No. 5 (bigger number", you use "walk up the street", if it is opposite, you say "walk down the street".
    oh, my goodness.
    Help me out of it.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,864
    #2

    Re: "up" and "down" always puzzle me.

    'Up' was used in British English for going to London, but also for Oxford and Cambridge- you'd go up to Cambridge and get sent down if you were expelled. However, unless there's an actual slope, I don't think it makes much difference. I think that the more relaxed my walk, the more likely I would be to use 'down'- I'd stroll down rather than up.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #3

    Re: "up" and "down" always puzzle me.

    In London East Enders would "go up to the West End"

    • Member Info
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      • Current Location:
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    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    #4

    Re: "up" and "down" always puzzle me.

    I suppose that, like the university cities, 'up' can be used when there's an idea of the place being important, special, but nowadays, couldn't they equally go 'down the West End'?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #5

    Re: "up" and "down" always puzzle me.

    So far as I know they still go up to the West End!


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #6

    Re: "up" and "down" always puzzle me.

    Quote Originally Posted by japanjapan View Post
    Dear teachers,
    plz read the following sentence:
    The church is down the street from the hospital.
    What does "down" mean here? What does the sentence mean?
    other examples:
    We walked down the street.
    why "down" here?
    some books on learning English hold that "up" means toward north and "down" means toward "south". is it ture?
    and sometimes I assume that maybe the road is not flat, so up means toward the higher part and down means toward the lower part, like a slope.
    but other books say if you walk from street No. 4 (small number) to street No. 5 (bigger number", you use "walk up the street", if it is opposite, you say "walk down the street".
    oh, my goodness.
    Help me out of it.
    Tdol wrote: 'Up' was used in British English for going to London,

    I think Japanese use the same idea for some things, example, trains, wrt to Tokyo. Is that the case, JJ?

    Up and down can still carry theiir specific meanings if a street/road has some slope to it but generally, 'go up/go down/walk up/walk down this street/avenue/road' should be viewed by ESLs as a frozen idiomatic expression, a phrasal verb like 'look sth up" in a dictionary. You can just as easily look down to locate a word but the idiom is the idiom.

    I agree with Tdol that 'up' can still have some classy reference to it but again, that's something that would be noted in a certain context, eg. Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl". Otherwise, I think they are used interchangeablly in normal conversation.

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