The bottle fell off the table. / My purse fell out of my bag.
The bottle was on the table. It fell off. / My purse was in my bag. It fell out.
Down is used when the direction of the fall is specified, or to mean “fell to the ground” :
I fell down the stairs.
To mean “fall to the ground” or “fall from a vertical to a horizontal position” you can also use fall over :
John fell over and hurt his knee./ A tree fell over in the storm.
Check your understanding with this exercise. What’s the missing preposition?
1. I fell …….. my bike and grazed both my elbows.
2. As I opened the book , an old letter fell …………….. it
3. I fell …………. the lake while I was fishing and got soaking wet.
4. I’ve never seen anyone so embarrassed as David when his trousers fell ….. !
5. The fire started because a candle fell …………. on the desk and some papers caught fire.
6. A bird had fallen …….. the chimney and the room was full of soot.
7. The room was so dark I couldn’t see anything, and I fell ………. the cat.
1. off 2. out of 3. into 4. down 5. over 6. down 7. over
Photo by Cris. Provided under Creative Commons Licence via flickr.