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by Abigail Van Buren

Great Debate: Which Way Is Up the Street?

DEAR ABBY: Please settle a disagreement I have with my husband and daughter. How do you determine "up the street" or "down the street"? I contend that it goes by the house numbers. They disagree. Any advice? -- CURIOUS IN NEW YORK

DEAR CURIOUS: According to Merriam Webster's Learner's Dictionary online: "In general, the prepositional phrases 'up the street' and 'down the street' mean the same thing, and in most cases either one is appropriate. ... However, if the street is on a hill, use 'up the street' when talking about something that is further uphill, and 'down the street' when it's further downhill."

My postman said that, in his opinion, "up the street" means in the direction of higher address numbers, and the reverse for lower ones -- so I'll defer to him and to you.

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