0

I am confused about where to use "down" instead of "down to" ? Can we use them interchangeably ? I copied some examples to see if there is any different in meaning .

1- He first went down the mines when he was 17.

2- Would you go down to the basement and fetch me a book please?

3- Water dripped down the wall.

3

In all of these examples, "down" and "down to" could not be exchanged.

"go down the mine" means descend into the hole in the ground.
"go down to the mine" means go along the street to the mine buildings.

You can say "go down to the shop" but in standard UK English you don't say "go down the shop".

"go down to the basement" means "go down the stairs until you reach the basement. In standard British English you don't say "go down the basement", since the basement is level.

"water dripped down the wall" means water descended in drips on the wall.
"water dripped down to the wall means water dripped down until it stopped at the wall.

In these cases "down X" means you remain in, or on X as you go down. But "down to X" means you go "down" until you reach X. Sometimes "down" is figurative. In some dialects the "to" can be dropped.

| improve this answer | |
  • Though it might be worth noting that some of those examples of "down the X" you give as don't/can't say are perfectly normal in some dialects. Those that I'm familiar with are essentially a case of missing out the "to", though. – SamBC Feb 8 '19 at 22:40
  • Am I not correct in thinking that go down the pub is colloquial UK English? (This is tangential to your actual answer, since it's a specific usage and it wouldn't be considered "standard" English anyway.) – Jason Bassford Feb 9 '19 at 3:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.