Dropped out/fell out of pocket.

Ashraful Haque

Senior Member
Bengali
I've learned that things fall out of pocket. But in a British show called 'Mind your language' a character said 'it could've dropped out of your pocket'.
Is there any difference between 'dropped out of pocket' and 'fell out of pocket'?
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  • Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The main difference is that "to drop" can be either transitive or intransitive while "fell" can only be intransitive.

    It dropped out of my pocket. (intransitive)
    I dropped it on the floor. (transitive)

    It fell out of my pocket. (intransitive)
    I fell it on the floor. :cross:

    The other difference in British English is that "It dropped out of my pocket." would be of a different register than "It fell out of my pocket".

    I suppose I'm trying to say that working-class people (as in the picture) would be more likely to use "It dropped out of my pocket." and middle-class and upper-class people would be more likely to say, "It fell out of my pocket."

    Note: The question of class and which form of speech is "correct" is no longer considered a valid topic of conversation by many people owing to considerations of social justice. I speak from experience however as at one time, my life was equally split between the middle and working classes and I became sensitive to the differences in speech.
     
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    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    But "out of pocket" has another meaning:

    out of pocket
    phrase of pocket​
    having lost money in a transaction.​
    "the organizer of the concert was $15,000 out of pocket after it was canceled"​
    (of an expense or cost) paid for directly rather than being put on account or charged to some other person or organization.​
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, there needs to be a possessive such as 'his' or 'your'.
    "It must have fallen out of my pocket". (I instinctively used 'fall', I notice, phew! )
    I never saw this show when it was broadcast decades ago. It's so politically incorrect that it's quite shocking.
     

    Ashraful Haque

    Senior Member
    Bengali
    Yes, there needs to be a possessive such as 'his' or 'your'.
    "It must have fallen out of my pocket". (I instinctively used 'fall', I notice, phew! )
    I never saw this show when it was broadcast decades ago. It's so politically incorrect that it's quite shocking.
    Maybe it's politically incorrect but people used to be simple and more forgiving back in the day. Anyway it's just my opinion, back to topic.

    So 'it fell out of my pocket' and 'it dropped out of my pocket' are both fine and mean exactly the same thing?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    That's what I thought, but Chas seems to have a better finger on this particular pulse than me, in this respect anyway.
    What series and episode is it? I wonder if this difference is reflected in it.

    Since nobody else has supported the class distinction aspect, it might be fair to say that it is not largely recognised, meaning that nobody would think any the less of you for using 'dropped'. If you omit the possessive form they might well think it was a pity, that with such good English, you made this small fairly basic mistake. :)
     
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    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Maybe it's politically incorrect but people used to be simple and more forgiving back in the day. Anyway it's just my opinion, back to topic.

    So 'it fell out of my pocket' and 'it dropped out of my pocket' are both fine and mean exactly the same thing?
    My recommendation is to always use "fell" for intransitive and "drop" for transitive. That way you can't go wrong.

    "It fell out of my pocket" :tick: (intransitve)

    "I dropped it on the floor." :tick: (transitive)

    If you hear someone say something different then just accept it but don't try to imitate it.
     
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