Fall (from / off / down)

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A-friend

Senior Member
Persian (Farsi)
I wonder if you help me to fill in the following blank:
Example: Once in my childhood, I………..the tree and broke my leg.
a) fell from
b) fell off
c) fell down
d) fell down form
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{I have written this example myself}
[I guess “c” is wrong, but other choices work interchangeably in this example]
{Bringing up this question I am going to realize the semantic effects and the differences between above-used prepositions (from / off / down) when they are used with the verb "fall"}
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Once in my childhood, should be "Once, in my childhood, ..." or "On one occasion in my childhood, ..."


    Once in my childhood, I
    fell from the tree and broke my leg. - This is fine

    Once in my childhood, I fell off the tree and broke my leg. - this is would only work if the tree had been chopped down and was lying on the ground. In this case, "tree" would mean "the trunk/a branch of the tree". It is hard to explain but someone/an object falling off something assumes that the someone/an object was on something. To be on something requires that you are in a superior position to that thing. To be on a tree would require you to be "on top of the tree" or "on a branch of the tree." It is so unusual to be "on top of the tree" that you would have to say this in the sentence. A picture can fall off a wall becasue the picture is really in a superior position to the wall (when considered with respect to how far out it is.)

    Once in my childhood, I fell down the tree and broke my leg. - When you fall down something, you retain contact with that something. "He fell down the hill" = at most times he was in contact with the hill as he was falling. It is possible to fall down a tree if you retain contact with the trunk of the tree.

    Once in my childhood, I fell down from the tree and broke my leg. This is fine.

    You can also say,
    "On one occasion in my childhood, I fell out of the tree and broke my leg.
     
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