a pot had fallen over, I picked it up and put it down

VicNicSor

Senior Member
Russian
over
Beyond and falling or hanging from a point:
One of my parsley pots had fallen over, so I picked it up and put it down properly.
oxforddictionaries

1) ' fall over ' here means 'fall to the ground' or 'fall on to its side'? Or can mean either?
2) If I picked it up, why do I put it down?:confused:

Thanks.
 
  • a passerby

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    1) Neither. It means that it tipped and fell: that is, it fell due to rotating, as opposed to falling straight down. It doesn't say anything about how it landed.

    2) Where else would you put it? Or, to be less flippant: what's confusing you about those two words?
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    1) It could mean either, but more usually would mean "to its side."

    2) Because, as Richard Lederer says as the title of one of his many books on our tongue, English Is a Crazy Language.

    Remember, for example, that when a building burns down it also burns up.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    When something goes from being upright (e.g., on the ground) to lying on its side (on the ground) we call that "falling over". To restore it to an upright position, you might well pick it up and put it down in the proper orientation. (If you don't put it down, you will continue to hold it:D).
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    If it was on a shelf, ledge, or wall, for instance, the expression "fell over" might mean over the edge and, therefore, down to the ground or floor. We don't know, although the expression more commonly means over on its side.
     

    VicNicSor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you for the answers. I have a couple of questions.

    2). 'burn down' and 'burn up' are phrasal verbs that can easily be found in dictionaries.:) As to "put down" here -- looks like it denotes a motion "towards a lower position". That is, at first I moved my hands upward (when picking it up) and then moved them down. That is, literally 'down'. Do I correctly understand?
    1) To passerby -- in this phrase, what does tell us that "it fell due to rotating, as opposed to falling straight down"?...
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    2) The action of putting something down means that it has to be first lifted above the surface on which it is to be put down (placed). Yes, once you had picked it up, you'd have to move your hands downward to put it down.

    1) I wouldn't have explained it that way. It means that it fell over in a sideways or front-back direction, presumably landing on its side. It's a little unusual, as I previously noted, but it could also mean that it fell over the edge of a shelf or something else on which it was standing and, thus, did go straight "down" to the floor or ground.
     

    VicNicSor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you,
    I think the recent (or rather ongoing) problems are placing all Ukrainian people in some trouble -- to a greater or lesser degree; but I hope all will be ok, too:)
     

    a passerby

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    1) To passerby -- in this phrase, what does tell us that "it fell due to rotating, as opposed to falling straight down"?...
    Well, this ended up not being the post I thought I was going to make. I was going to say "the phrasal verb fell over", but apparently that's not a phrasal verb for most speakers! Instead I'll say "the adverb over, which implies the object's motion is somehow notably lateral".

    The phrase "fall over" generally implies a subject which has an incompletely stable or completely unstable vertical position ("upright") and a more stable horizontal position ("on its side"). You can balance a pencil or an egg on one end, but it'll probably fall over quickly. A sufficiently wide cone is difficult to make fall over, if it's on its base. A Weeble is essentially impossible to make fall over without modification. A sphere can't be said to "fall over"; it just doesn't make sense.

    Because of this, things that fall over will generally land on their side, or perhaps upside-down. That's a physical observation rather than a grammatical one, though.

    I specifically disagree with MuttQuad's example. The phrase fall over the edge is a different construct from fall over; the former is "fall" with a prepositional phrase "over the edge". There's nothing wrong with referring to a sphere or ball as having "fallen over the edge" (though I'd prefer something like "fallen off the shelf"), but even then I couldn't say that it simply "fell over".

    Thank you,
    I think the recent (or rather ongoing) problems are placing all Ukrainian people in some trouble -- to a greater or lesser degree; but I hope all will be ok, too:)
    Indeed. Good luck and best wishes.
     

    VicNicSor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Well, this ended up not being the post I thought I was going to make. I was going to say "the phrasal verb fell over", but apparently that's not a phrasal verb for most speakers! Instead I'll say "the adverb over, which implies the object's motion is somehow notably lateral".

    The phrase "fall over" generally implies a subject which has an incompletely stable or completely unstable vertical position ("upright") and a more stable horizontal position ("on its side"). You can balance a pencil or an egg on one end, but it'll probably fall over quickly. A sufficiently wide cone is difficult to make fall over, if it's on its base. A Weeble is essentially impossible to make fall over without modification. A sphere can't be said to "fall over"; it just doesn't make sense.

    Because of this, things that fall over will generally land on their side, or perhaps upside-down. That's a physical observation rather than a grammatical one, though.

    I specifically disagree with MuttQuad's example. The phrase fall over the edge is a different construct from fall over; the former is "fall" with a prepositional phrase "over the edge". There's nothing wrong with referring to a sphere or ball as having "fallen over the edge" (though I'd prefer something like "fallen off the shelf"), but even then I couldn't say that it simply "fell over".



    Indeed. Good luck and best wishes.
    Thank you!:)
     
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