So I was watching a movie viz. Les Miserable, where some convicts sing a song with "Look down" phrase and they sing "Sweet Jesus does not care" for them and they wanted Jesus to look after them . So I thought if I try to say "look down upon us, O sweet Jesus", will it be meaningful? I mean can we use "down" and "upon" two opposite prepositions side-by-side?

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    Sure we can, and Les Miz doesn't have the sole example. Consider: Look out into the distance; pull off onto the breakdown lane, the bird soared up beneath the clouds. – J.R. May 11 '13 at 18:30
  • +1 to StoneyB's answer, but let me just make the side note that "look upon" is largely obsolete, Modern speakers would generally say "look at us, Jesus" (or whomever) or "look down at us" or "look down on us". You'll find "look upon" in the King James Bible and Shakespeare and other English of that time, but not often in modern English. – Jay Sep 23 '15 at 14:48

Yes, indeed, you may say look down upon (or on); divinities, kings, employers and such superior beings are often spoken of as looking down upon their worshippers, subjects and employees—sometimes benevolently, sometimes wrathfully—and someone on a high building or mountain may look down upon the street or valley below.

Down and upon are not opposite but supplementary here. Down, which is employed as an adverb, not a preposition, designates the direction of looking: the subject is above what is being looked at. Upon is a preposition and heads a prepositional phrase designating what or who is looked at.

There is also a figurative use of the same idea to mean regard with scorn; the subject treats what is looked at as if it were “lower”—inferior:

Students from affluent families look down on those whose families cannot provide them fashionable clothing.
Many 18th- and early 19th-century grammarians looked down upon the recently invented passive progressive construction.

On is more often used with the figurative use and upon with the literal use; but this is by no means a rule.

The collocation VERB + ADVERB of direction + Prepositional phrase is perfectly ordinary: look up at/to, poke around in, put up with, get away with. In many cases a collocation has an idiomatic sense which cannot be derived by analysis of its components, and such collocations are often classed as phrasal verbs; but this is not the case with look down upon.

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