General Writing and Grammar Help/Fall ill/sick?


Dear Ted:

Does "to fall ill/sick" make sense in English?

If so, does it have the same meaning as "to become sick"?

If not, when is it used?

Would you please give me some examples?

Thank you.


Dear Paolo:

There is a slight difference between "to fall sick" and "to become sick."  The word "fall" suggests that the happening is a sudden onset or something that happens quickly.  There is no such sense of urgency with "to become sick."  "Becoming sick" may take minutes, hours, or days.  "Falling sick" suggests the the illness has immediately happened.


Jennifer became sick while she was visiting Puerto Rico.  It was not until she returned home that she began to feel better.

Judge Antonin Scalia fell sick during dinner; he died in bed a few hours later.


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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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