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General Writing and Grammar Help/Go down on one's knees - get down on one's knees

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Question
Dear Ted:

Is there any difference between "to GO down on one's knees" and "to GET down on one's knees"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

As always, many, many thanks for your valuable help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Is there any difference between "to GO down on one's knees" and "to GET down on
one's knees"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

*** In many cases, the two phrases mean the same thing.  For instance, the two following two sentences mean the same thing:

I intend to GO DOWN on my knees and ask for her forgiveness.
I intend to GET DOWN on my knees and ask for here forgiveness.

NOW . . . here comes the hard part.  In some instances, "to GO down" refers to a voluntary actions.  A person chooses to put himself into a kneeling position.  That choice is "missing" in some statements, as if the person is FORCED to his knees by someone or something else.  EXAMPLE:  The robber forced me to GET down on my knees, and then he ran off down the street.

So, even though the two phrases mean the same thing, HOW they are used can make a difference.

(A) Soldiers are trained to GO down on their knees to protect themselves when gun shots are heard.

(B) The man entered the building carrying a rifle.  He told all the people to GET down on their knees.

(A) suggests a choice being made by those who kneel.  In (B) there is no such choice; there is a demand that all the people MUST OBEY.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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