General Writing and Grammar Help/Fell off - fell down

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Question
Dear Ted:

Which of the following sentences is correct?

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

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

Thank you,

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Which of the following sentences is correct?

*** Both are correct, but their meanings are different.

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

*** The painter fell part way down the roof, but he did not hit the ground.

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

*** The painter left the roof and hit the ground.

NOTE:  In place of OFF you can also say FROM.

DOWN is different, because there is no suggestion that he completely left the roof.

Ted

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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

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