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Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. Welcome back to Know Your Verbs. My name is Alisha, and in this episode, we're going to talk about the verb, "fall." Let's get started.
The basic definition of the verb, "fall," is to move towards the ground by accident, though. So, your body or an object moves towards the ground, but it's not on purpose. It's an accident. Examples, "I fell on the stairs." "Be careful. Don't fall down."
Let's look at the conjugations of this verb. Present tense: fall/falls. Past tense: fell. Past participle tense: fallen. Progressive: falling.
Okay. So, now, let's talk about some additional meanings for this verb. The first additional meaning is to decrease, like to decrease in size, to decrease in the amount of something, the number of something, the capacity of something, so, to get smaller in some way. Examples, "Temperatures fell to freezing overnight." "Wages have fallen over the last 10 years." So, in these example sentences, the subject of the verb has reduced in some way. In the first example sentence, it was temperature. So, temperatures fell, meaning the temperatures, in this case, we're using the plural, temperatures; so, there were many temperatures, from, maybe, day to night. But, we're talking about the range of temperatures overnight. So, temperatures fell or temperatures decreased to freezing. So, freezing was the lowest point for the temperature. So, temperatures fell to freezing overnight. That was the reduced, the most reduced point. In the second example sentence, "Wages have fallen over the last 10 years," it means over a 10-year time period, wages have continued to fall. So, I'm using the present perfect tense there, "wages have fallen," which means that something started in the past and continues up to the present. So, "wages have fallen," which means starting from 10 years ago, wages have continued to fall over the last 10 years. So, "have fallen" shows us that they have reduced. So, in other words, people are getting less and less pay gradually.
Let's go on to the second meaning for this verb. Meaning two, to move from a higher position to a lower position. Examples, "A leaf fell on my shoulder." "She fell to her knees and begged." Okay. So, in the first example sentence, a leaf fell on my shoulder, it's like the leaf was attached to a tree and it just fell to my shoulder. So, it was just naturally falling, "The leaf fell on my shoulder," here. In the second example sentence, though, I've used the expression, "she fell to her knees and begged." So, the image is that a person moves from a standing position to a position. This is begging, like doing this, but, on your knees. So, meaning, you're not standing on your feet. Your body becomes much smaller on your knees, like in this motion, your knees are like this. We use this expression, "to fall to your knees," as like to refer to someone taking this position, as like it's a sign of respect, or as a way to sincerely ask for something. So, we only use "fall to your knees." We don't say "fall to your stomach" or "fall to your arms," or anything like that, only "fall to your knees." We can, however, say "fall on your face." So, that's slightly different. To fall on your face means to move from a standing position and fall, and your face touches the ground. So, the fall is very extreme. This is very hard. So, walking, walking, walking, you fall on your face. So, your face touches the ground. However, in "fall to your knees," it's on purpose. So, you drop to your knees from a standing position, slightly different. So, "fall to your knees" is a set expression for a request, a sincere request.
Okay. Let's go to the third meaning. The third meaning is to belong to a group or to a category. So, we use this for responsibilities, for, maybe, analysis, perhaps. So, let's look at some examples of this. "This task falls outside my job description." "Our work falls into two categories." So, in the first example sentence, "this task falls outside my job description," we can imagine that the person's job description is here in one circle, but the task belongs to something that's not in this person's job description circle. The task is something outside of the person's job description. So, we can say "The task falls outside the job description." The task, in other words, the task belongs to a different category. The task is a different group from this person's job description. So, we use "fall." It falls outside my job description. In the second example sentence, "Our work falls into two categories," means our work belongs to two categories. Or, basically, there are two styles of things we do or two types of things we do. So there's Style A and Style B. So, our work falls into one of two categories. So, our work belongs to one of two categories, Category A, Category B. We use "falls" for that.
The fourth meaning for this verb is "to happen." To happen. So, we use this a lot for holidays, birthdays, celebration. You'll see. Let's look at some examples. "My birthday fell on a Sunday this year." "Our meetings keep falling on Fridays." Okay. In the first example sentence, "My birthday fell on a Sunday," it means my birthday happened on a Sunday. That's all. We just use the word "fell," in this case, past tense, to talk about that, because the birthday has finished. The birthday was in the past. So, "My birthday fell on a Sunday this year." In the second example sentence, "Our meetings keep falling on Fridays," we're using the pattern "keep" plus the "-ing" form of the verb, which means that repeatedly, something is happening. Our meetings continue to fall. So, our meetings continue to happen on Fridays. Okay. So, it just means happen in this way.
Let's move along to some variations of this verb. The first variation is to fall behind. To fall behind. To fall behind means to have a delayed schedule, or to take longer than you expect to take. Let's look at some examples, "I've been so busy; I'm falling behind on my studies." "Be careful not to fall behind on the housework." So, in the first example, "I'm falling behind on my studies," means there are things I should do, but I'm so busy I can't take care of it. I'm delayed or I'm not able to do the things I know I need to do. I need to study, I should be at this point, but I'm falling behind. I'm falling behind my pace. I'm falling behind schedule. So, I need to fix it somehow. So, "fall behind my studies" is one common example. The other sentence was, "Be careful not to fall behind on housework," so, meaning, maybe, you're not falling behind now, but this is like a warning phrase, like make sure to always do your housework. So, don't fall behind on housework; otherwise, your house will be dirty.
The next one. I included two in the next one because they are very similar in terms of the way they sound, but they are very different in terms of meaning. First, to fall for someone. To fall for someone means to fall in love with someone. To become in a state of love with someone is to fall for someone. Examples, "Don't fall for him too soon." "He fell for her right away." "Fell" or "fall" means become in love with that person. So, "Don't fall in love with him too soon," or, "He fell in love with her right away," but we removed "in love" from the expression. We can just use "fall," or, past tense, "fell" to explain that.
Now, let's compare this expression to "to fall for something." "To fall for something" has a very different meaning. To fall for something means to believe something, but that thing is not true. So, it's a lie, for example. Example sentences, "Don't fall for it." "I can't believe you fell for my dumb story." So, this means that someone, in the first example sentence, "don't fall for it," means don't believe that story; it's not true. So, maybe, it sounds good or it sounds like a nice idea, but don't believe the story, don't fall for it. In the second example sentence, "I can't believe you fell for my dumb story." It means, "I can't believe you actually believed my story was true. I'm shocked that you believed my dumb story." So, it means something was not true, in other words, and you fell for it; you believed it was true. So, this has a negative nuance about it. You fell for that? It sounds like, "how could you fall for that? How could you believe something that ridiculous?" So, a negative expression. So, to fall for someone, to fall for something. Quite different. To fall in love to believe something that's not true.
"To fall apart" is the last variation. To fall apart. To fall apart means to become disconnected or to break apart. Let's look at some examples of this. "My jacket is falling apart." "She looks like she's about to fall apart." In the first example sentence, I said, "My jacket is falling apart." That means, physically, so my clothing, my piece of clothing, the fabric is breaking. So, it's falling apart. So, it's becoming separated, the physical items that make up the jacket are becoming separated. In the second example sentence, I said, "She looks like she's about to fall apart." Here, we're not talking about this person's body. We're talking about the mental state. So, a person who looks like they're about to fall apart means they mentally seem about to break. So, maybe, they have a lot of stress or they're really, really tired. It means their mental state is about to break. It's going to be, it maybe, I don't know, their life is really tough right now, so they seem like they're about to fall apart.
So, those are a few, hopefully, new ways to use the verb, "fall." I hope you got something new from this lesson. Of course, if you have any other ways that you like to use "fall" or that you've heard of, or if you have any questions or comments, or just want to try to make an example sentence, please feel free to do so in the comment section. Thanks very much for watching this episode Know Your Verbs and we'll see you again soon. Bye-bye!
Fall. I'm going to fall off this chair.