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    #1

    calm down and cool down

    The situation calmed down/ cooled down.

    Are they both possible? Is there any difference between them?

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: calm down and cool down

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    The situation calmed down/ cooled down.

    Are they both possible? Is there any difference between them?
    They are both used. They're not quite the same.

    I would use "cool down" to mean "stop being angry". However, although "calm down" can also be used to ask someone to stop being angry, it can also be said to someone who is very upset or sad. I wouldn't say "cool down" to someone who was sad or upset.

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    #3

    Re: calm down and cool down

    I agree that "cool down" applies to anger, but I would never tell someone who was very sad to "calm down."

    In fact, I really suggest never telling anyone to cool down or calm down. Being told to calm down when I"m not angry in the first place is pretty much guaranteed to make me become angry!

    I know that wasn't your question, though. For you original question, I agree with ems.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. JohnParis's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: calm down and cool down

    I think it's interesting how we all applied both cooled down and calmed down to humans, when the question was "the situation".

    I think a situation can cool down, but can it calm down? I'm going to hit the "submit reply" button without conviction, and wait for your replies.

    John

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: calm down and cool down

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnParis View Post
    I think it's interesting how we all applied both cooled down and calmed down to humans, when the question was "the situation".

    I think a situation can cool down, but can it calm down? I'm going to hit the "submit reply" button without conviction, and wait for your replies.

    John
    That's a very good point and even though I read the question in its entirety, I immediately started thinking about its usage when applied to humans (as an imperative!)

    I don't think I would be surprised if I heard either phrase used to describe a situation.

    "After three nights of looting in London, the situation has calmed down and police are no longer patrolling the streets."

    In fact, having typed that, I would now say that I would expect to hear "calmed down" more than "cooled down" in that sentence.

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    #6

    Re: calm down and cool down

    So, for a not native English speaker, what do you suggest? When "calm down" and when "cool down" (both for humans and for things such as a situation, or anger, for example)? I have not caught it yet...

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: calm down and cool down

    There is not the sort of clear answer I suspect you would like. Although some native speakers feel some sort of difference, that difference is not easy to pin down. My personal view, for what it's worth, is that 'calm down' is the safer option for both people and situations.

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    #8

    Re: calm down and cool down

    Thank you all very much

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