Up as a preposition and adverb particle

The word up can be used as a preposition or as an adverb particle. For example, it is an adverb particle in the expressions stand up and blow up. Note that an adverb particle doesn’t have an object. A preposition is always followed by a noun or a noun equivalent which serves as its object.

  • John is already up. (= John is out of bed.)

As a preposition up is used to talk about position in or movement to a higher or more important place or degree etc.

  • Pull your socks up.
  • He is going up to London. (= He is going from the country to London.)

Up to

When you are up to something, you are occupied or busy with it.

  • What’s he up to?
  • He’s up to no good. (= He is doing something wrong.)

Up to can also mean equal to.

Not up to much = not very good

  • I don’t feel up to doing much. (= I don’t feel well enough to do much.)

What’s up? is the slang for What’s the matter?

The game’s up, it’s all up. (= We are beaten, we have lost.)

Ups and downs = changes of fortune.

  • I have had my share of ups and downs, but life has generally been good to me.