Understand phrasal verbs with ‘to fall’

December 27th, 2018 / Vocabulary

phrasal verbs with to fall


Do you use ‘to fall’ correctly? Probably not. The reason why so many students fail with ‘to fall’ is that although it may seem like a normal verb, it isn’t. ‘To fall’ separates into five different phrasal verbs: ‘to fall in’, ‘to fall out’, ‘to fall over’,  ‘to fall down’ which each express a different type of motion. In addition, there is ‘to drop’ which I will also explain in this post.


The different ‘to fall verbs’

To fall in

The first type of ‘to fall’ is ‘to fall in.’ This means to fall inside something.

For example, ‘the bee falls in the drink,’ or, ‘the child falls in the swimming pool’. Equally you can say ‘to fall into’ which means the same thing.


To fall out

The opposite of ‘to fall in,’ is, ‘to fall out’. This means to fall out of something you were previously inside. When are you ‘in’ something in English? Well you are: in a car, in a small boat, in a box, in the bath, and so on.

For example, ‘the bird falls out of the tree’. The bird was in the tree but it fell which means it fell out of the tree. Another example, ‘the coin falls out of my pocket’. The coin was in my pocket and so it fell out of my pocket when it fell.


To fall over

Next we have ‘to fall over.’ This means to fall on a level or flat surface.

For example, ‘the runner fell over in the street,’ or, ‘the tree fell over in the storm’. The tree fell while on a level surface, the ground. It did not fall lower than the surface it was on and so it fell over.


To fall off

Then we have, ‘to fall off’. This means to fall from something you were previously on.

In English, when are you ‘on’ something? Well you are on a bus, a train, a plane, a bike, a building, a table, and so on. And so, if you are on it you fall off. For example, ‘the cyclist fell off his bike.’


To fall down

Finally we have ‘to fall down’ This means to fall from a high place but the sides of the thing you are falling down are vertical or at a severe angle. For example, ‘he fell down the mountain,’ or ‘she fell down a well.’

Another meaning of ‘to fall down’ is ‘to collapse,’ for example, ‘this building is so old, it is almost falling down.’


To drop

So that concludes the ‘fall’ verbs but there is another verb with a similar meaning and that is, ‘to drop’.

This means that something, a person, animal or vehicle is carrying, falls by accident. For example, ‘the man dropped his wallet at the party,’ or, ‘the dog dropped her bone.’

‘To drop’ also means a sharp fall in temperature or numbers. For example, ‘the company’s shares dropped by 30% last week.’


Still have questions? Then watch this video

So that concludes ‘to fall’, how many different motions can you express with this verb? Tell us in the comments below.


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