[Someone] is already <up> there.

bearsq

New Member
Hi there, I have a question on the use of "up" in the phrase "someone is already up there".

For example, in the 1988 film "Working Girl", Tess (by Melanie Griffith) finally climbed up the corporate ladder and came to work for Mr. Trask. On her first day at Trask, the receptionist told her where she sits as follows, "...Miss Baxter's already up there. She'll show you the layout ... It's all the way at the end of the hall." So what exactly does the word "up" mean here?

Honestly I heard the expression "someone is already up/down there" quite often in real life (I live in New York) and sometimes I can tell that the "up/down" implies the geographical location, e.g. "--Where is Bob? -- He is going to take the ferry. Actually he is already down there". In this example, it makes sense using "down" since South Ferry is in the most southern tip of Manhattan. And one more example, "--There is an international forum on the study of Ancient Greek architecture at Columbia Univ. tonight. Dr. XXX is already up there for some pre-event activities." Using "up" also makes sense since Columbia Univ. lies in the upper west of Manhattan.

However in the "Working Girl" example I mentioned in the beginning, the "up" seems a little arbitrary to me. Why use "up" here? Are "up" and "down" interchangeable in that context? Or are "up" and "over" also interchangeable in that context?

Thank you for any inputs!
 
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  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I think that 'up' is vaguely directional, and means something like 'some unknown distance away from here.'

    In this context as I understand it, it would make as much sense to say, "Miss Baxter's already down there," as you say.
     

    bearsq

    New Member
    I think that 'up' is vaguely directional, and means something like 'some unknown distance away from here.'

    In this context as I understand it, it would make as much sense to say, "Miss Baxter's already down there," as you say.
    Hi Cagey, thanks very much for your reply!

    It is good to know you think "Miss Baxter's already down there" also works fine.
     
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