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General Writing and Grammar Help/Fall down, fall off & fall over

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Question
Dear Ted:
Which of the following sentences is/are grammatically correct?

1) He fell DOWN and hurt his knee.

2) He fell OFF and hurt his knee.

3) He fell OVER and hurt his knee.

If all three are possible, do they have the same meaning?

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

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Which of the following sentences is/are grammatically correct?

1) He fell DOWN and hurt his knee.

CORRECT

2) He fell OFF and hurt his knee.

YOU NEED TO NAME WHERE HE WAS WHEN HE FELL - HE FELL OFF HIS BICYCLE AND HURT HIS KNEE.

3) He fell OVER and hurt his knee.

UNLESS YOU NAME SOMETHING THAT WAS IN HIS WAY, IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE ANYONE FALLING "OVER."  THIS SENTENCE WORKS -- HE FELL OVER THE SMALL TABLE AND HURT HIS KNEE.

If all three are possible, do they have the same meaning?

*** YES.  If you make the changes that I suggested, all of them mean that he fell -- usually in a downward direction.  There are exceptions, of course.  He could FALL UP the stairs.


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.

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

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