Fell a Tree or Fall a Tree?
wrote, “Can you provide some clarity on the use of 'fall' and 'fell' with
regards to cutting down a tree? Many folks say, I'm going to fell a tree. On the other hand, some say, I'm going to fall a tree. Thanks
for any insight that you can provide me.”
The proper form is "fell a tree." Fall
is not supposed to take an object. Its principal parts are fall. fell, fallen.
- A tree fell in the forest.
- The tree has fallen.
- The regime fell to the revolutionaries.
The principal parts of fell (a separate verb) are fell, felled, and felling.
That verb does take an object, and it has two meanings:
- (1) To cause to fall by striking; to cut or knock down: to
fell a tree / to fell an opponent in boxing.
- (2) To kill: President Kennedy was felled by an
It wasn’t part of
Nortman’s question, but fell as an adjective means fierce, deadly, and
ruthless. When a bird of prey suddenly drops down on its prey and snatches it
up, it kills in one fell swoop.
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