Want to know the difference between “fall down” and “fall over”? Well, you’re not alone! English language learners often have difficulty deciding which one to use. “Fall down” and “fall over” are both used to describe someone or something collapsing or losing balance, but they are not interchangeable and are used in slightly different contexts. Below, we will explain the difference between “fall down” and “fall over” and provide you with plenty of example sentences so you will know which one to use in any given situation.
What’s The Difference Between Fall Down And Fall Over?
“Fall down” is generally used when someone or something drops vertically or without a specific direction, while “fall over” indicates more of a sideways or directed fall, often from an upright position. Let’s look at these phrasal verbs in more detail.
This is a phrasal verb that generally means to suddenly and unintentionally drop from an upright position to the ground or a lower level. It does not necessarily specify the direction of the fall. For example, you could fall down while walking or fall down the stairs. Here are a couple of examples:
- “He slipped on the ice and fell down.”
- “Be careful not to fall down the stairs.”
This is another phrasal verb, and it is usually used to indicate a person or thing falling from an upright position to the ground, typically in a sideways direction or towards something else. It implies a toppling over. For example, a book might fall over on a table, or a person might fall over if they were pushed from the side. Here are a couple of examples:
- “The wind was so strong that the tree fell over.”
- “She was standing on one foot and lost her balance, causing her to fall over.”
Fall Down Vs Fall Over – Example Sentences
Here are some example sentences using ‘fall down’ and ‘fall over’. After each sentence, you’ll see a short explanation as to why that particular phrasal verb was used.
“While playing soccer, John suddenly fell down.”
(We use “fell down” because John dropped to the ground without necessarily falling in a specific direction.)
“The snowman fell over when the wind blew stronger.”
(We use “fell over” because the snowman, originally in an upright position, toppled sideways or in a specific direction.)
“Bobby was so tired that he fell down right where he stood.”
(We use “fell down” because Bobby went from a standing position directly to the ground, without specifying any direction.)
“The stack of books was too high and eventually fell over.”
(We use “fell over” because the books, originally stacked up vertically, toppled over in a certain direction.)
“She was so startled by the noise that she fell down.”
(We use “fell down” because she dropped to the ground out of surprise, not necessarily in any specific direction.)
“When the car abruptly stopped, the bicycle leaning against it fell over.”
(We use “fell over” because the bicycle was leaning on the car and toppled over in a specific direction.)
“The baby is learning to walk and often falls down.”
(We use “falls down” because the baby is losing balance and dropping to the ground, not toppling over in a particular direction.)
“During the storm, several trees fell over.”
(We use “fell over” because the trees were upright and fell in a specific direction due to the wind.)
“I was so dizzy that I fell down.”
(We use “fell down” because the speaker dropped directly to the ground without specifying a direction.)
“The heavy vase on the shelf fell over when the train passed.”
(We use “fell over” because the vase, originally in a stationary position, toppled over onto its side.)