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What is the meaning of the following sentence, said from a person that is at home, and is going outside?

I will go up to the stores.

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This is confusing -- the title is different than the text quoted in the question. Is the expression "I will go up the stores" or "I will go up to the stores". –  Andrew Flanagan Feb 3 '11 at 22:03
    
funny - due to my northern English upbringing, those sentences are equivalent (as is 'I will go up stores') - at least in spoken form. –  HorusKol Feb 3 '11 at 23:03
    
What about "go down to the stores"?! –  Jimi Oke Feb 4 '11 at 0:21
    
It's I will go up to the stores. –  kiamlaluno Feb 4 '11 at 8:00

6 Answers 6

up vote 1 down vote accepted

"I will go to the stores". The "up" is fairly meaningless; it may refer to the stores being "uptown" from one, north of one, above one vertically, or have no real referent at all. It's much the same as the New Jersey, USA colloquialism of "going down the shore", which means "going to the shore" regardless of where one is situated relative to the shore.

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I have heard this exact sentence used and my hunch (sorry, no source) is that it is derived from the general store days in which the warehouse or storage area of the retail shop was located above it. In that case,

I will go up to the stores.

would have been something said by the proprietor if he intended to check the warehouse area of his shop for additional merchandise.

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It's the same kind of usage as saying "I'm going up/down the street".

I don't know if up/down ever had specific usage - but these days, they're fairly interchangeable, and you'll get any number of different phrases like:

I'm going down the street to see if Mrs Higgins is okay

I'm going up to the pub for a pint

There may be some sub-conscious selection for the up/down if there is a gradient between the person's current location and the object location, or maybe compass direction (assume north to be up), but it's more likely to be just personal preference.

This can get more confusing if you stop and get directions from someone:

Well, you head up this street and take a left. Then go down that road for a half a mile, take a right by the tree, and head up that road until you get to The Black Sheep and then head down the lane to the side of it

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+1 for compass direction. –  RegDwigнt Feb 4 '11 at 8:58

Honestly the first thing that came to mind is that you were in a parking garage or something below a shopping center. Remove the "up" and I think you are going to a store.

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I would say that it's a bit of an odd formation, without some context. If you and I both understand explicitly what I mean by "the stores", it's a bit clearer, e.g., I'm referring to stores which I own, or stores we've been talking about. As far as "up", I think it's mostly implying a bit of effort, as in, "Rather than just calling, I will actually go up to the stores."

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1  
Chaos's (Chaos'?) answer above is also revealing...it may refer to a location UPtown, or significantly NORTH ("The Devil went DOWN to Georgia") of where you are. –  Chris B. Behrens Feb 3 '11 at 20:24

Your quote is not right as it is, it looks like it wants to be:

I'm going to the stores.

More likely I would say

I'm going to the shops.

but I think that might be personal word preference.

However,

I'm going down the shops.

is perfectly common, and you can also say:

I'm going up/down the road.

or even

I'm going up/down the village.

but on both cases you'd be implying that you're already on the road, or in the village, and you're just going to a different part of it.

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Yah, it's definitely down, not up, if it has to do with shopping! –  Jimi Oke Feb 4 '11 at 0:21

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