I just might be catching you using a phrase that doesn’t actually exist with this one. Think fast. Which one is correct? “Shore up” or “sure up”?
When a plan at work needs some extra strategic support, when your offensive line has some major gaps, or when your sandcastle is falling down, what do you need to do?
I almost hate to break it to you, but:
the correct phrase is “shore up” not “sure up.”
This expression first appeared a long, long time ago—somewhere between 1300-1500—when the word “shore” was not only a place where the land met the sea or the place where she sells seashells. “Shore” had and has another definition that has fallen out of favor: a support beam, prop, or buttress. This word comes from the Middle Low German schore. Interestingly, this root is different from “shore” as in seashore, which comes from the Middle Low German schor. Confusing? Absolutely, but that’s not the issue at stake here.
The mistake of writing “sure up” instead of “shore up” is common. You find it in news articles, books, and almost anywhere written text is found. And there’s a logic there even. You want to make something “sure” as in certain or unfailing. I hear you, but it just isn’t so.
Sure, “sure” might have logic, but since when has logic stopped the English language? “Sure up” is the syntactic impostor.
Don’t believe me? Maybe it will help that Merriam Webster, Oxford Dictionaries, and Dictionary.com all don’t recognize “sure up” as an existing phrase. It’s true. Feel free to fact-check this one for yourself.
Happy writing, everyone!
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