I have such problem with prepositions when used together with a verb, they seem to have many differents ways to be used. Anyway, talking about the verb "roll", I have two examples and I'd be glad if any of you could help me out.

The rock rolled down the barrier.

The rock rolled the barrier down.

Can I place the preposition that way? If so, Which one sounds better and why?

In what cases is "rolled over" used? Could you give some examples using: rolleld over, rolled on, rolled up and rolled down? Thank you.

1 Answer 1


You may be talking about different idioms, "to roll down" and "to knock down". A rock can roll down a hill and then knock down a fence. Also it can roll over the fence, implying that it knocked down at least part of the fence. Or you can say the rock rolled down the hill and knocked over the fence. Or various other combinations.

Definitions from The Free dictionary:

To roll down: to move downward, rotating, as a wheel or a ball, or to move downward on wheels.

To roll over: [for something that rolls] to pass over something.

So a rock can roll down a hill, over a fence, and into my car.

Note also that you can roll [something] over (transitive verb), meaning to turn it over, or something can roll over (intransitive verb) meaning it turns in a rotational manner.

I rolled the rock over so I could look underneath it.

He rolled over in bed to look out the window.

  • Thank you Andrew, but I guess you understood the "barrier" as a "fence", When I said: The rock rolled down the barrier, I meant: The rock rolled down the hill, I thought barrier could also mean "hil", but you gave me one more useful example, thank you. Now talking about "roll over" to turn something in a rotational manner, if I wanted to say: I rolled the rock to the left, could I say: I rolled the rock over the left side? Or "over" doesn't imply to say a direct position?
    – Davyd
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 18:25
  • @DavydDiniz I just rewrote "barrier" to be "fence" to make the use more clear. A "hill" can be considered a "barrier", possibly, but not in this context.
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 19:09
  • @DavydDiniz You may say "I rolled X over onto its left side", or various other options. You can "roll over" almost anything, even if it's not round, ex: "They rolled the large box on its side so they could read the shipping label"
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 19:10
  • Hum, so "I rolled the box to the left side" is also acceptable, right?
    – Davyd
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 19:14
  • 1
    @DavydDiniz I would say "on its left side" is more idiomatic if you mean that the box fully moved onto its side. If you just roll the box "to the left" it can mean you partially rolled it that way, but not all the way. "To the left side" is probably fine, but "to the left" is more idiomatic.
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 19:21

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