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Below is an excerpt of a script for a CNN news clip. There are dozens of lifelike wooden penguins made by a local artist displayed in the middle of town and people passing by are absolutely enjoying the scene.

“We just thought it was fantastic and wanted to know exactly what it was and why it’s here.” - “It’s sort of magical. I drove by and thought, am I seeing things or am I seeing a field of penguins in the snow. Is that possible or are my eyes deceiving me?”

They’re not. Rather this march of the penguins … dozens of life-like wooden cutouts - is the work of a local artist. And from the biggest kids to the littlest ones, everyone seems to be pretty pleased with all these penguins. Like Donna Hardy, who stopped by with her great niece and nephew up visiting from Louisiana for the perfect photo opp.

I'm wondering what up marked in bold means/indicates in the sentence above. Especially because there are so many meanings of "up", it's hard for me to figure out which of the many definitions fit here.

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"up" can be omitted here without changing the meaning. "Up" is used in this context often and it basically is just implying that they came from somewhere south of where they are now, so if they are now in Michigan, the niece and nephew would have came up from Louisiana since Louisiana is South of Michigan. Since you likely know where they are broadcasting from and since they state that the niece and nephew are from Louisiana you can infer that they came up without the need for the word "up." Therefore, the "up" can be omitted like I mentioned above.

A situation where up would add to the sentence would be:

She and her kids were up visiting from their home country.

In this case we do not know where their home country is, but "up" implies that it is south of where they are now.

Bonus: "up" is used here in the same way "down" is used in this common phrase from The Price is Right:

Come on down, you're the next contestant on The Price is Right!

On this game show contestants are called from the audience (which, like in most theaters, is elevated seating) so they are coming from where they are down to the stage below.

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  • In the UK, we can say that someone came up to a town or city (especially London) from the country, no matter from what direction. Feb 28 at 14:22
  • @MichaelHarvey it is also used in that context is the US, but since Louisiana is referring to the state this is most likely directional. The other way it is used here in the US would be coming from anywhere to an event. This is less common but someone could "come up" (appear) from New York City to/at the event in Kentucky.
    – Eli Harold
    Feb 28 at 14:26
  • It is also used in a similar context to say "up town" or "down town" referring to specific parts of the city (regardless of their location, e.g. uptown could be the southernmost part)
    – Eli Harold
    Feb 28 at 14:28
  • I am grateful to Lou Reed and Petula Clark for clarifying 'uptown' and 'downtown'. Feb 28 at 14:33
  • @MichaelHarvey missed the reference
    – Eli Harold
    Feb 28 at 14:53

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