When I hear expressions like "you need to get trained up", I think the up is, at best, superfluous and probably grammatically incorrect.

Is that the case, or does the up serve a purpose?


Up has numerous uses and, as the OED notes, ‘the variety . . . is so great that the adverb comes to present a number of highly divergent and even directly opposite senses’.

Your example is certainly grammatical. The OED’s definition in this sense is

To cultivate or develop (the mind, the spirit, a faculty, etc.), especially for a specified purpose; to accustom to performing a specified function. Also with up.

The use of train up isn’t new. The entry gives this supporting citation from the mid-seventeenth century:

How much more ought a Christian to train up his own heart, and accustome it this way, to be his continual remembrancer of himself.

  • 1
    And there is always the biblical Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." – JLG Jun 5 '12 at 13:54
  • @JLG: correct, in the KJV. Not the case in more modern translations like the NIV. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Jun 6 '12 at 10:38

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