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I have looked here, and understand the concept, but I am not sure whether or not this applies here as well.

The two sentences are :-

Rohit was knocked down by a speeding car

and

Rohit was knocked off by a speeding car

Do both mean the same ? Can either of them be accepted ?

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    Search for the phrases and you will see that they have quite different meanings. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/knock%20down vs merriam-webster.com/dictionary/knock%20off – Davo May 9 '17 at 12:50
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    Knock off means to kill or pirate. Knock off of a shelf means displace and cause to fall. Knock down means to displace and cause to fall, or reduce. Did you look at BOTH links? Was Rohit killed, or simply caused to fall to the ground? – Davo May 9 '17 at 12:59
  • @Davo yes, I looked, and you are correct. But this answer says both are the same. – Imaginary Pumpkin May 9 '17 at 13:00
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    Fell is different from knocked. "Knocked off" has special meaning as a phrase, and will be misunderstood. Clarity should be the goal of communication. You could say he was knocked off his feet, but not simply knocked off. – Davo May 9 '17 at 13:04
  • @Davo thanks, I understand the difference now. Post it as an answer if you like :) – Imaginary Pumpkin May 9 '17 at 13:23
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There are vastly different primary meanings of knock off, when not used with a prepositional phrase like "from a shelf" for clarity: to kill, or to pirate, or to rob (see linked definitions).

To knock down means to displace or topple, and cause to fall.

Rohit was knocked down by a speeding car.

To most people, this means that Rohit was hit by a speeding car, lost his balance, and fell (we assume to the ground).

Rohit was knocked off by a speeding car.

To most people, this means he was intentionally killed, and that it was done via a speeding car.

Rohit was knocked off his feet by a speeding car.

To most people, this means that Rohit was hit by a speeding car, lost his balance, and fell (we assume to the ground).

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If you get knocked off something, than means you were previously on the thing that you got knocked off.

I was sitting on a horse. I got knocked off the horse.

When you are knocked down, you fall to the ground. Sometimes, you can be knocked down at the same time you are knocked off something (e.g. a horse), but one does not automatically mean the other.

Maybe a different example to clarify:

Thomas was standing on the train. A heavy gentleman bumped into him. Thomas fell to the train's floor.

Thomas was knocked down (because he fell to the floor).

Thomas was standing on the train. A heavy gentleman bumped into him and pushed him off the train.

Thomas was knocked off the train.

Thomas was standing on the train. A heavy gentleman bumped into him. Thomas lost his balance and fell onto the train platform (= he fell out of the train). The train left before Thomas could get back on it.

Both are true. Thomas was knocked down (because he fell onto the ground of the train platform), but he was also knocked off (because he was previously on the train, but not anymore).

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