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    #1

    rain drops roll down the window

    I am wondering about the sentence "rain drops roll down the windows". I think that heart of the sentence is to roll down. How can a non-native determine whether it is a phrasal verb or idiom or both? From the link I concluded two possibilities. First it might mean that rain drops put their tracks when they go down the window like they become longer as explained in 2 or they pile up at the bottom of the window, sliping down.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/roll%20down


    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: rain drops roll down the window

    Raindrops appear to roll when they are on a vertical or sloping surface. When they are on a vertical surface such as a window pane, they tend to roll in one direction only. Most native speakers can work out the meaning of your sentence without too much deliberation. Some of us even manage without having to use a dictionary.
    Last edited by teechar; 05-Jun-2017 at 16:46. Reason: typos

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    #3

    Re: rain drops roll down the window

    In this context, I see it as neither a phrasal verb nor an idiom. The raindrops roll. In which direction do they roll? Down. Round things (which raindrops are) can roll in lots of different directions (though they usually obey the laws of physics and don't roll up ).

    (Cross-posted with Piscean.)
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: rain drops roll down the window

    I think you may not understand what an idiom is. An idiom is when the understood meaning is not the literal meaning of the words used.

    If I say "there's more than one way to skin a cat," I am not talking about literally removing the skin from a cat.

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    #5

    Re: rain drops roll down the window

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I think you may not understand what an idiom is. An idiom is when the understood meaning is not the literal meaning of the words used.

    If I say "there's more than one way to skin a cat," I am not talking about literally removing the skin from a cat.
    But might some phrsal verbs be out of literal meaning?

    Thank you.

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    #6

    Re: rain drops roll down the window

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Raindrops appear to roll when they are on a vertical or sloping surface.. When they are on a vertical surface such as a window pane, they tend to roll in one direction only. Most native speakers can work out the meaning of your sentence without too much deliberation. sSme of us even manage without having to use a dictionary,
    Does "to roll" you have used above mean to impel forward by causing to turn over and over on a surface?

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/roll%20down


    Thank you.

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    #7

    Re: rain drops roll down the window

    But might some phrsal verbs be out of literal meaning?
    Yes, but there is nothing in "rain rolls down the window" that makes me think it is non-literal.

    If you ask me how my meeting with the boss was and I say "shit rolls down hill," I am most likely talking non-literally.

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    #8

    Re: rain drops roll down the window

    Quote Originally Posted by hhtt21 View Post
    Does "to roll" you have used above mean to impel forward by causing to turn over and over on a surface?
    Not unless you wish to acknowledge the power of gravity.

    Forget your dictionary. Just put a ball on a sloping plane. When you take your hand away, it rolls down the slope.

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    #9

    Re: rain drops roll down the window

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Not unless you wish to acknowledge the power of gravity.

    Forget your dictionary. Just put a ball on a sloping plane. When you take your hand away, it rolls down the slope.
    Children use that sloping planes in parks. So are they rolling down? Does "to roll" imply moving by turning? The ball would move by turning by children not.

    Can they be determined as they are rolling in the vid? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcqLOK1cwd8

    Thank you.

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    #10

    Re: rain drops roll down the window

    Rolling normally means something like "moving while rotating on an axis perpendicular to the direction of motion". Children don't normally roll when going down a slide because they don't rotate.

    Although raindrops don't actually rotate when rolling down a window, they maintain a globular shape which makes it appear that they do.
    I am not a teacher.

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