Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grammar Tip: On vs. Upon

I recently worked on editing a book where the author consistently used upon where my natural inclination was to use on. So I did a little digging and discovered that...well, there isn't much out there on the difference.

The dictionary saved the day: MW explains that upon means on, with other definitions considered obsolete.

A few forums took it a step further and explained that upon is considered more formal than on and should be reserved for set expressions (once upon a time...) and more formal settings (legalese!).

In short, if you aren't telling a story and you aren't obsessed with your own intelligence, don't use upon. It doesn't make you sound smarter...it makes you sound stuck-up.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the help!

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  2. "Upon" is the most over used word in the English language since so many use it to sound formal when it is not needed. Thanks!

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  3. Thanks a bunch! I agree, there's not much out there on this and I appreciate your summary here.

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