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General Writing and Grammar Help/Fall short of - fall short on


Dear Ted:

Do you say, "to fall short OF....." or "to fall short ON....."?

If both are possible, do they mean the same thing?

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.


Dear Paolo:

I have never heard or seen "to fall short ON."

(often followed by of) to fail to reach or measure up to (a standard)

I checked several online dictionaries and idiomatic expressions and could not find a listing.

There are many instances of "to fall short OF" --

Mary fell short of her goal to be valedictorian of her graduating class.

John tried to raise money to buy a motorcycle.  He mowed people's lawns, but he fell short of customers and could not get enough money.

Politicians always promise to be servants of the people, but when they are actually elected to office, they fall short of their pledges.


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Ted Nesbitt


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.


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

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

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