Amp or Ramp Up?



You hear it often. As something gains intensity, or someone tries even harder. Ramp up. The North Koreans have ramped up their missile tests. The quarterback is going to have to ramp up his efforts during the last two minutes if his team is to win. The police have ramped up their efforts to find the missing poodle.

… but I believe the expression would be please turn down your music (or some more forceful and perhaps vulgar variation thereof) 

But what does a ramp have to do with an increase? If you’re standing at the top of a ramp, there is only one way – down. It reminds me of the concept of a slippery slope, the onset of potential problems down the road.  We’ve all seen ramps, highway on and off ramps, wheelchair ramps, skateboard ramps. One characteristic of them all is that they can be used to go up or down.

On the other hand amped up can only mean one thing; whatever the subject, it is increasing. Or more precisely, being amplified. So I’m more concerned about the North Koreans amping up their missile testing program. If the walls of your apartment are rattling with the strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s Free Bird one could knock on the door and say, ‘please amp down your music’, but I believe the expression would be ‘please turn down your music’ (or some more forceful and perhaps vulgar variation thereof) . 

Even my spell-check wants me to change ramped to amped! (This does give me pause for thought mind you.)

So I think I have to amp up my blogging as I have been otherwise occupied lately.


DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

3 thoughts on “Amp or Ramp Up?

  1. I go up ramps, but I go down steps. Down would be good if I was wearing skates maybe, but for my old feet … well … nothing’s perfect 😀

  2. I always knew it was ” amping up ” and not ” ramping up ” Somehow in recent years, it’s been lost in translation ….

  3. I am certainly appreciative that I am not the one alive that thinks our english vocabulary has become insane.

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