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fall [intransitive] to suddenly stop standing

She slipped on the ice and fell.

A tree fell, just missing his car.

fall + adv./prep. I fell over and cut my knee.

The house looked as if it was about to fall down.


Now, a boy ran into a chair & made the chair fall off, can we say "you fell the chair"?

I know that the verb "fall" is not a transitive verb. So, we can say "The chair fell" but we can not say "I fell the chair".

What is the equivalent expression of "to make the chair fall"?

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    Funnily enough, fell does exist and originally was a causitive of fall, so it meant cause to fall. But now it is an archaic word except when used ot trees.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 22, 2020 at 15:54
  • You could say "you felled the chair". It's unconventional but functional.
    – PcMan
    Aug 30, 2021 at 18:21

1 Answer 1

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I assume you mean "made the chair fall over". The typical way to say it would be "you knocked down the chair". Depending on the exact action, you could also say "you pushed the chair over". In other words, you describe the boy's actions, not trying to force "fall" into the sentence.

Just to confuse you, there is difference between "to fall" and "to fell". Fell in this case, actually does mean what you think, but we wouldn't normally use it with a chair.

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    knock down the chair is not typical. You can knock down a thing or person. Typical would be: to knock the chair over
    – Lambie
    Jan 22, 2020 at 15:25
  • @Lambie, seem, knock down / over are the same oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/…
    – Tom
    Jan 22, 2020 at 16:41
  • I think "knock something down" works okay if the thing is somehow suspended, or otherwise high up. There was a mirror hanging on the wall but I knocked it down. Or, he was standing on the box when he got knocked down. Jan 22, 2020 at 16:52
  • Why give the best answer first, made the chair fall over, which is a very common expression, and then for the official answer provide a clumsy, uncommon expression, knocked down the chair? Knocked the chair over, Toppled the chair, those all work. We knock down walls, barriers, obstacles, and abandoned buildings but as a general rule we do not knock down chairs.
    – EllieK
    Aug 30, 2021 at 17:30
  • @Tom - Your Oxford link does not support your point. To hit somebody and make them fall to the ground. This applies to somebody that is true but it does not apply to every something. It has much to do with the shape of the object.
    – EllieK
    Aug 30, 2021 at 17:37

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