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  1. #1
    angliholic's Avatar
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    Smile John tumble down teh stairs, off a bicycle, out of a tree, over a step.

    John tumbled down the stairs.
    John fell down the stairs.
    John fell downstairs.


    Do all of the above sound right and mean about the same? Thanks.

  2. #2
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: John tumble down teh stairs, off a bicycle, out of a tree, over a step.

    Quote Originally Posted by angliholic View Post
    John tumbled down the stairs.
    John fell down the stairs.
    John fell downstairs.


    Do all of the above sound right and mean about the same? Thanks.
    Yes and no, A. But we choose different words to express different, not nuances, but, hmmmmmmmmm, different, uhhhhhhhhhh, what's the word I want,

    Let me try it this way. The first sounds like someone relating a good tale, the second more of a factual report and the third describes the place John fell, like into the basement or from the second floor to the first.

    Would we even use the third one? I'll leave it to someone whose thought processes are keener; it's late for me.

  3. #3
    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: John tumble down teh stairs, off a bicycle, out of a tree, over a step.

    Quote Originally Posted by angliholic View Post
    John tumbled down the stairs.
    John fell down the stairs.
    John fell downstairs.


    Do all of the above sound right and mean about the same? Thanks.
    First two are fine, but like Riverkid, I don't think the last one is complete. I don't think it is saying what you mean it to say. It is confusing.

    "downstairs" can mean "down the stairs" but it also means the floor beneath the one that you are currently on. When you are on the second floor of a house then the first floor is called "downstairs".

    While I sat on my bed I heard the cat knock over the lamp downstairs.

    So in the last sentence, we know that John fell and ended up on the floor below. It was probably down a flight of stairs but we don't know for sure. Perhaps there was a hole in the floor and John fell through it. (Believe it or not this happened to my father when he was building a house)

  4. #4
    angliholic's Avatar
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    Smile Re: John tumble down teh stairs, off a bicycle, out of a tree, over a step.

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Yes and no, A. But we choose different words to express different, not nuances, but, hmmmmmmmmm, different, uhhhhhhhhhh, what's the word I want,
    You mean different situations/conditions?

    Let me try it this way. The first sounds like someone relating a good tale, the second more of a factual report and the third describes the place John fell, like into the basement or from the second floor to the first.

    Would we even use the third one? I'll leave it to someone whose thought processes are keener; it's late for me.
    Thanks, riverkid.
    To make sure, the first and second versions are close in meaning except that the first is more descriptive, right?

  5. #5
    angliholic's Avatar
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    Default Re: John tumble down teh stairs, off a bicycle, out of a tree, over a step.

    Thanks, Naamplao.
    By the way, what do you think of the question in post 4?

  6. #6
    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: John tumble down teh stairs, off a bicycle, out of a tree, over a step.

    Quote Originally Posted by angliholic View Post
    Thanks, Naamplao.
    By the way, what do you think of the question in post 4?
    If you mean, do I think the first example in your question is more descriptive? Yes, it describes how he fell...not just that he fell.

  7. #7
    angliholic's Avatar
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    Default Re: John tumble down teh stairs, off a bicycle, out of a tree, over a step.

    Thanks, Naamplao.

  8. #8
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: John tumble down teh stairs, off a bicycle, out of a tree, over a step.

    Let's see. John fell down the stairs. He fell off a bicycle. He fell out of a tree. And he fell over a stepladder. Any one of those would have been enough for me.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: John tumble down teh stairs, off a bicycle, out of a tree, over a step.

    He fell from a stepladder if it was erect, he fell over a stepladder if it was lying on the ground.
    John is not having a very good day.

    There's a difference between "tumbled" and "fell."
    "John tumbled down the stairs" means that he was in contact with the stairs, he rolled down on his side, or even, poor fellow, he went end over end.

    "John fell" could mean that he tripped at the top and went through the air, or that he slid down on his back.

    With tumbled, the motion is random, confused, indirect.

    "Downstairs", as our friends have already pointed out, means from one floor to the next.

    cheers
    baqarah

  10. #10
    angliholic's Avatar
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    Default Re: John tumble down teh stairs, off a bicycle, out of a tree, over a step.

    Thanks, Ron and baqarah, for your helpful reply.

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