Fall vs fall <off /down/ out/ over>

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guillaume28

Senior Member
French
Hello everyone,

i've a problem with this sentence : The clocked crashed to the ground when it fell off the wall. I wonder why is fall off used and not fall/fall down/fall out or fall over. What's the difference between these verbs? Is fall off a phrasal verb such as the others except fall? Do you have example of sentences in which you use these verbs and a explanation of why using these verb and not the others.

Thanks
 
  • kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    This is too broad a question, but in this case the clock was 'on' the wall and so it can fall 'off the wall,' So I think here 'off' is just an ordinary preposition.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    The clock fell off the wall because it was attached to the wall/hanging on the wall. If something is on a shelf, it would fall of/from it. If someone is standing on a stool/ladder, etc, or at the edge of a cliff, they fall off. If someone is standing, or if something is upright, they/it falls down (BE speakers also say to fall over', especially for a person). If a person is in a car or on a balcony, for example, or something is in a container/a drawer/a pocket, it falls out. 'To fall' simply means to go from a higher to a lower position involuntarily (and figuratively: prices fall, you can fall in someone's esteem). 'To fall' is also part of other multi-word (phrasal, prepositional) verbs.
     
    Last edited:

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    When i look in the WR dictionnary, they are indicated as phrasal verb.
    Some of them are phrasal verbs, but then they have nothing to do with falling, and "fall off" in your example is not the phrasal verb "fall off" as defined in the dictionary. By linking them as you have, there is an implication they are similar in meaning, and that is only true when they are not phrasal verbs.
     

    guillaume28

    Senior Member
    French
    When i look in the WR dictionnary, they have a meaning close to fall. So what's the difference between fall off/fall over/fall down/fall out as simple verb + preposition and fall off/fall over/fall down/fall out as phrasal verb?
     

    guillaume28

    Senior Member
    French
    Let's say you are right. But what is then the meaning of "off" in my example? I heard say that to say fall off, the thing you fall from must have a surface.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    In your example, the preposition to use with "fall" is essentially the antonym of whatever the preposition was to describe the starting position of the object. If the clock was ON the wall or ON the shelf, it falls OFF. If it was IN the cupboard then it falls OUT.

    The phrasal verb "to fall off" means to diminish, which isn't what the clock did.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    So in that case, off mean "from"? Wouldn't it be possible to say that the clock fell from the wall?
    This is beginning to drift from what is already a somewhat broad topic.

    It's possible to say that, but we're less likely to. To my ear it sounds somewhat formal or literary.

    Further questions should deal with the prepositions listed in the first post or have their own threads.
    You can find existing threads by using the search box at the top of the page to search for fell off from.
    This one seems useful: fall from vs fall off [a ladder]

    Cross-posted.
     
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