2

People say:

I was walking down the road.

My friend wanted to run down the village.

The batsman moved down the pitch.

The phrase down the place means towards decreasing length of that path. However, the length of the path should not always be decreasing when we are running or walking on it. Then why use this phrase only?

  • The phrase 'to go down the street/road/pitch' means to go farther along the street/road/pitch. It's an expression that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the length of the path. Don't get confused with the 'down' part of it. You shouldn't think about it in terms of decreasing lengths. It just means that there is a path/space that extends a distance and you are just going farther along the distance that this path/space extends. – Phil14 Jun 15 '17 at 5:08
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    If a native English speaker heard the sentence "My friend wanted to run down the village," he would assume that your friend had bad things to say about the village! (See the 3rd entry at M-W.) I don't think that is what you intend. – P. E. Dant Jun 15 '17 at 5:15
  • @Phil14 Indeed, although (at least here in Toronto) some people make a definite distinction between "down the street" and "up the street". (We base it on Lake Ontario being considered down, but any elevation could work in other scenarios, or north/south — we consider the lake south anyway...) – Luke Sawczak Jun 15 '17 at 5:19
  • @Phil14 No need to credit my nickname in the answer; and you might want to have a look at the construction of the last paragraph. – P. E. Dant Jun 15 '17 at 5:47
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    For the 2nd sentence, I think you may be missing a "to" My friend wanted to run down to the village. – SteveES Jun 15 '17 at 8:45
5

The phrase:

I am going down the street/road/pitch/square

means that:

I am going farther along the street/road/pitch/square

The expression 'down the...' doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the length of your chosen path. Don't think about it in terms of decreasing lengths. It just means that there is a path that extends a distance and you are just going farther along the distance that this path/space extends.

And don't get confused with the 'down' part of it. If you are standing in the middle of a somewhat level road/space/etc and you wanted to go farther along it, you would still be going down the road/space/etc regardless of what direction you are going in.

Take note that this doesn't apply for elevations however. If you were standing at the top of a hill or a road that has a significant slope and you wanted to go towards the bottom, you would be going down the hill/road. But if you were at the bottom and are now going towards the top of the hill/sloping road, you would be going up the hill/road.

As for:

My friend wanted to run down the village.

Please take note of @P. E. Dant's comment. It is a completely different expression that means that you want to say bad things about the village.

  • My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. What "ran down" implies here? – Anubhav Singh Jul 10 '17 at 4:52
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    @AnubhavSingh It means that the tears went farther down her face. If you need more clarification than that, you should ask a new question. – Phil14 Jul 10 '17 at 5:50

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