There are quite a few words that are formed with down/ up either preceding the actual rootword, or as a particle making for a phrasal verb. But does it change the meaning in any way or carry different connotations? Play down - downplay Scale down- downscale

1 Answer 1


Interesting question, my suggestion is always to check a good dictionary first, there may be differences in usages and/or meaning, case by case:

In the example you make:

play down and donwplay have similar meaning and usages:

  • If you play down something, you try to make people believe that it is not particularly important.

  • If you downplay a factor or feature, you try to make people think that it is less important or serious than it really is.

as in the case of scale down or downscale:

If you scale down something, you make it smaller in size, amount, or extent than it used to be.

  • One factory has had to scale down its workforce from six hundred to only six.

to donwscale: reduce (something) in size, amount, extent, cost, etc.; downsize

  • We want to downscale and buy a smaller house.

(Collins Dictionary)

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