Transitive

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The poachers were caught yesterday when they fell trees illegally.I think fell is right but my friend says it should be felled.

asked Apr 01 '12 at 19:59 Shantanu New member

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Yes, "fell" is the past tense of the verb "fall" but that--in one of those things that makes English so wonderfully maddening -- is a different word than the word you've used. 

 

Present Tense:  "You fall off a cliff" and "You fell a tree"

Past Tense: "You fell off a cliff yesterday" and "You felled a tree yesterday."

 

Fall means "move downward, typically rapidly and freely without control, from a higher to a lower level" while Fell means "to cut down".

 

Hope this helps.

link edited Apr 01 '12 at 21:49 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Jeff its really helpful. But if we cut down a tree it also move downward rapidly...

ShantanuApr 01 '12 at 22:57

Shantanu, your line of reasoning is what caused the colloquiall "to fall a tree". But as Tolley noted, the verb is not "to fall" but "to fell" when it comes to making trees fall over.

As near as I can tell, both "to fall" and "to fell" came from the same Old English root "faellen" but split split into their separate forms at least 700 years ago.

Jeff PribylApr 01 '12 at 23:39

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