General Writing and Grammar Help/Fall down - fall off

Advertisement


Question
Dear Ted:

Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct?

1) The painter lost his balance and fell OFF the roof.

2) The painter lost his balance and fell DOWN the roof.

If both are possible, do they have the same meaning?

In general, is there any difference between "to fall OFF a place" and "to fall DOWN a place"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Also, does "to fall FROM a place" exist?

If so, does it have the same meaning as one of the above phrases?

Again, many, many thanks for your valuable help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

NOTE:  Please forgive my lateness.  For the last two days, I have had disrupted service from my internet provider, AND I lost electricity while workmen installed new utility poles and wires.

Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct?

1) The painter lost his balance and fell OFF the roof.

2) The painter lost his balance and fell DOWN the roof.

If both are possible, do they have the same meaning?

In general, is there any difference between "to fall OFF a place" and "to fall
DOWN a place"?

*** YES, there's a difference.  If a person falls OFF something, like a roof, he hits or lands on the ground.  If he falls DOWN something, it doesn't mean that he is completely off that something.  So, a person who falls DOWN a roof is still ON it, but he is not as high up as he once was.

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Also, does "to fall FROM a place" exist?

If so, does it have the same meaning as one of the above phrases?

*** "To fall from a place" is the same as "to fall off a place."

EXAMPLES:

He FELL DOWN and hurt his knee.

The tourist reached over the barrier and FELL OFF the cliff.  His body was found 500 feet below.

Jane FELL DOWN two flights of stairs, but, miraculously, she was not injured.

Two of the climbers were killed when they FELL OFF the mountain.

As I was replacing my dictionary, I caused several other books TO FALL FROM the shelf.

Ted

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

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

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.