fall: ✓ fall ✗ fall down

By | August 30, 2016
fall down
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
La gloria più grande nel vivere consiste non nel mai cadere ma nell’alzarsi ogni volta che cadiamo.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
✓ House prices are falling.
✗ House prices are falling *down*.
✓ House prices are coming down.
I prezzi delle case sono in calo.
As a general rule, use fall without down. Here are some examples where we would never use down with fall in English:
✓ The rain was falling
✗ The rain was falling *down* …
La pioggia cadeva
✓ The leaves were falling from the trees.
✗ The leaves were falling *down* from the trees.
Le foglie cadevano dagli alberi.
This is because the verb fall strongly implies the direction down, so down is usually unnecessary.
We generally use fall down to indicate a specific direction of the fall. For example, a sentence like:
✓ My aunt fell down the stairs yesterday and broke her hip.
Mia zia è caduta giù per le scale ieri e si è rotta l’anca.
means that my aunt fell to the bottom of the stairs, like this:

If we say that she fell on the stairs, perhaps she was lucky and didn't fall to the bottom.
Fall is used with other prepositions. For example, if someone or something is on another thing, they may fall off it:
✓ The picture fell off the wall.
✗ The picture fell *down*/*down from* the wall.
Il quadro è caduto dalla parete.
✓ She fell off her bike/horse.
✗ She fell *down*/*down from* her bike/horse.
E’ caduta dalla bici/dal cavallo.
By the same logic, if someone or something is in another thing, they may fall out of it:
✓ My keys must have fallen out of my pocket while I was running for the bus.
Le mie chiavi devono essermi cadute dalla tasca mentre correvo per prendere il pullman.
If someone or something falls and finishes up in another thing, we can say that they fall in it or fall into it:
✓ My mobile’s dead. It fell in the toilet.
Il mio telefonino è morto. E’ caduto nel water.
✓ They’ve found that boy who fell into the river. He’s safe and sound.
Hanno trovato quel bambino che è caduto nel fiume. E’ sano e salvo.
Finally, notice the very common expression fall over. When people or things fall over, they accidentally move from an upright (horizontal) position and finish up lying on the ground or other surface. For example:
✓ I fell over while I was running for the bus.
Sono caduto mentre correvo per prendere il pullman.

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