Fall over a stone/Fall over on a stone

PaoloFR1

Senior Member
Italian - Italy
Hi everyone, I came up with a doubt while I was speaking.

Which one of the following sentences is the most correct?

"Today while I was walking back home I fell over a stone."

"Today while I was waking back home I fell over on a stone."

I think they are the same in meaning, aren't they?
 
  • Liam Lew's

    Senior Member
    Hi everyone, I came up with a doubt while I was speaking.

    Which one of the following sentences is the most correct?

    "Today while I was walking back home I fell over a stone."

    "Today while I was waking back home I fell over on a stone."

    I think they are the same in meaning, aren't they?
    The first one just says that you fell over. And the thing you fell over was a stone.
    The second sentence says that you fell over something. We don't know what it was but we know that you landed on a stone.

    That's how I understand your sentences.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I think both sentences sound unusual (because they describe physically unusual situations), although both are grammatical and have meanings.
    Much more often (because it happens more often) I would expect to hear "I tripped over a stone" or "I tripped on a stone" (having approximately the same meaning).
    These mean that my foot, in the movement of walking, unexpectedly collided with a stone, interfering with my balance and the rhythm of my walking
    (I may have maintained my upright posture, or I may have fallen as a result of tripping.)
    Meanwhile, "I fell over a stone" gives me the image that my body passed above the stone and landed beyond it,
    and "I fell over on​ a stone" suggests that I fell to the ground and landed on the stone.
     

    PaoloFR1

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    I think both sentences sound unusual (because they describe physically unusual situations), although both are grammatical and have meanings.
    Much more often (because it happens more often) I would expect to hear "I tripped over a stone" or "I tripped on a stone" (having approximately the same meaning).
    These mean that my foot, in the movement of walking, unexpectedly collided with a stone, interfering with my balance and the rhythm of my walking
    (I may have maintained my upright posture, or I may have fallen as a result of tripping.)
    Meanwhile, "I fell over a stone" gives me the image that my body passed above the stone and landed beyond it,
    and "I fell over on​ a stone" suggests that I fell to the ground and landed on the stone.
    I asked this question because today my housemate, who is a native english speaker, has told me what has happend to him. He said "I fell over on the stairs and my knee is still hurting" and he actually tripped over the stairs and then he fell to the ground hitting his knee. According to your answer is like he fell and landed on the stairs, which is different. That's why I'm a bit doubtful. When would you use "fall over", and how?
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Usually when a human being who is in a standing position falls to a lying position on the ground, I would say they "fell down".
    "Falling over" (where "over" is an adverb, not a preposition with an object after it) reminds me of an inanimate object. I can build a "tower" of books by piling them one on top of another, but eventually the tower gets so tall that it falls over.
    If a person "falls over", I think they must be unconscious _before the fall_;
    they fall from upright to lying on their side, without stumbling a few steps or putting out a hand to control the fall.
    "I fell over on the stairs" sounds unusual to me.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    "I fell over on the stairs" seems a pretty ordinary statement to me. It means that he had a fall while he was on the stairs. It does not necessarily mean that he tripped on one of the steps. He might have trodden on a child's toy, or he might just have been too drunk to stay upright. I fell over is everyday BE.

    Your fell over on a stone / over a stone sentences are both odd - as post #3. He fell over a cliff or he fell over on a path would be all right, but not the other way round
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'll add to what native speakers have already said.

    "Today while I was walking back home I fell over a stone."

    "Today while I was walking back home I fell over on a stone."

    In both the above sentences, the language suggests that the stone was large. Let's say a meter high in the first sentence and several meters wide in the second sentence.

    Examples

    Today while I was walking back home at night, it was so dark that I couldn't see anything. I fell over a large stone that was blocking my way.

    Today while I was walking back home I climbed up onto a very large stone. While I was on it I caught my foot on a small projection and fell over on the stone.



    If the stone was small then I suggest you use the verbs "to trip on/over".

    "Today while I was walking back home I tripped on/over a stone."



     
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