In Reply to: Directional words posted by Victoria S Dennis on January 05, 2009 at 22:13:
: : : What is the origin of using directional words in such phrases as: "Wash UP, Clean UP, Wash DOWN the walls, or as in Hi THERE, or You THERE!!
: : One actually does wash DOWN the walls. So the soapy dirty water drips the right way. Other than that, I don't know. We had a discussion in recent history about time and direction. The future is ahead of us, etc., but I couldn't find it. Thought it might have some application to this subject.
: Similarly, one shouts "You there!" in a literal directional sense - "I, here, am addressing you, over there". (VSD)
"Wash up," "clean up," "burn down," "mess up," and their kin are called phrasal verbs. English has many of them, and they help make it a hard language for nonnative speakers to learn.
ESC, the procedure I was taught is to wash a painted wall starting at the bottom. If the dirty water drips onto the yet-unwashed surface below, it makes streaks that will never come off. ~rb