fall over yourself to do something

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EdisonBhola

Senior Member
Korean
Hi all,

I've recent learnt a new phrase: fall over yourself to do something

I'd like to know if it's a common expression used by native speakers, and if it has a neutral, negative, or positive meaning.

e.g. He falls over himself to please the teachers so that he can receive preferential treatment.

Many thanks! :)
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It only works when you’re talking about a number of people. The idea is that they’re all clamouring to do the same thing at the same time, and falling over each other in the process.

    If you want an expression that can be applied to one single person, use “bend over backwards” to do something.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    It only works when you’re talking about a number of people. The idea is that they’re all clamouring to do the same thing at the same time, and falling over each other in the process.

    If you want an expression that can be applied to one single person, use “bend over backwards” to do something.
    Thanks for the suggestion. :)
    Is "bend over backwards" intrinsically neutral? By that I mean can it be used to convey both something positive and something negative, such as "bending over backwards to donate to charity" and "bending over backwards to lie to people"?

    Does it have the connotation of going the extra miles to please someone?
     
    Last edited:

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think it implies “do one’s utmost”, which in turn implies trying to do something positive rather than negative. But of course any such expression can be used sarcastically, i.e. can be turned on its head. As in: He seems to go out of his way to cause trouble!
     
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