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  1. #1
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default fall down and fall over

    I'm trying to understant the difference between "to fall down" and "to fall over" and I came across two definitions, the following ones:

    to fall down: when people or things fall to the ground from a higher position, they fall down.
    Es. I slipped on the ice on the sidewalk and fell down.
    Es. All the dishes on that shelf will fall down if there's another earthquake.

    to fall over: when people or things fall over, they fall to the ground from an upright position.
    Es. That tree has been dead for 30 years but it still hasn't fallen over.
    Es. I almost fell over when I heard the terrible news.

    According to you, aren't these definitions very similar in their meaning? It boils down to the fact that in the first we have the adjective "higher" and in the latter "upright".

    How can I understant to use these two verbs correctly? Do they have the same use in AE and in BE?

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: fall down and fall over

    As far as I'm concerned, they mean much the same thing.

    Yesterday, I fell down.
    Yesterday, I fell over.

    However, I wouldn't say "I fell down" unless I was referring to a sudden collapse when perhaps I fainted or my legs gave way. I would use "I fell over" if I stumbled over my own feet, or tripped over something which was in my way.

    The result of both is exactly the same. I started off in an upright position and I ended up on the floor.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: fall down and fall over

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I started off in an upright position and I ended up on the floor.
    Personal experience suggests that a touch more water (or tonic/soda) delays the deverticalisation.

  4. #4
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: fall down and fall over

    Thank you so much
    you've been quite clear,
    what about the four sentences I wrote about the two verbs? What do you make of them? Would you use "fall down" where I did? and what about the ones with "fall over"?

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: fall down and fall over

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post

    Es. I slipped on the ice on the sidewalk and fell down. Yes.
    Es. All the dishes on that shelf will fall down if there's another earthquake. No. The dishes will "fall off".


    Es. That tree has been dead for 30 years but it still hasn't fallen over. You could use "fallen over" or "fallen down". I would prefer "That tree has been dead for 30 years but it is still standing".
    Es. I almost fell over when I heard the terrible news. Yes, or "I almost collapsed/fainted".
    See above for my comments on your example sentences.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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