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Let's say a teacher is going to have their student to write a few example sentences with a certain word in their notebook. Would they say write or write down to tell the students to do that. For example:

Now I want you to write a few example sentences in the present continuous.

Now I want you to write down a few example sentences in the present continuous.

Can both be used in the context? If so, is there any difference in meaning between them?

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  • Same thing but down is more emphatic.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 17:22

1 Answer 1

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There is a big difference between write and write down.

  • Write speaks about composing something: a sentence, a book, a phrase, a poem.

  • Write down means to put something into writing, to apply writing onto a piece of paper or some other material.

If the students are asked to "write" a few sentences this may either may to compose them and then write them down or to just write down what the teacher will be telling them. However, if they are asked to "write down" a few sentences then the sentence already exist and should simply be placed into writing.

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  • But what if I said "write down a few English verbs and make a few sentences with them". It is obvious that you cannot compose English verbs. Can I use "write" in the sentence with the same meaning there? Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 11:37
  • @DmytroO'Hope You can compose them in your head (bring them up in your memory) and then write them down. Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 11:42
  • So they are interchangable in my sentence in the comment, right? Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 11:58
  • @DmytroO'Hope No, they have a different meaning. Reread the answer. Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 11:59
  • @DmytroO'Hope as this answer makes clear, "write down" means putting down on paper something that already exists. For example, a teacher might tell their students to "write down" a sentence that is already on the blackboard. To use "write down" correctly in the situation you describe, the teacher would say "Now, I want you to [find/make up/think of] some sentences in present continuous and write them down".
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 14:34

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