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When somebody is descending from the slopes of a mountain which is the correct way to say this:

They're coming down a mountain (bridge, hill).

or

They're coming down from a mountain (bridge, hill) ?

If both are correct, how do you explain the difference?

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  • Why do you think that either of them is wrong? – Cardinal Mar 4 '20 at 17:42
  • Neither version is incorrect. Coming down a mountain is the action of descending the slope; if someone has come down from a mountain, they have been to the summit and come back. We usually speak of coming over a bridge. – Kate Bunting Mar 4 '20 at 17:44
  • In practice it makes little or no semantic difference whether you include the preposition or not with your exact example. It's just a matter of the syntactic relationship between the verb (to come down) and the associated "object" (a mountain). But it could make a difference in similar contexts. With no preposition, that "object" specifies where the specified action is currently taking place, but if from is included it might simply identify where the action started. Compare They're coming down from Scotland and ... down the M1 motorway. – FumbleFingers Mar 4 '20 at 17:53
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The "from" is implying a source of the movement. The "coming" is indicating a destination.

"Coming down a mountain" means that the person is on the mountain, moving downwards, and coming towards some implied destination.

"Coming down from a mountain" means the person is on the mountain, moving downwards, and moving away from presumably the pinnacle.

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I think both forms are used.

Definition of come down from

1: to move or fall downward from (somewhere or something):

I'd like you to come down from that ledge before you fall down.

2: to be passed on from (a former time):

This is a story that has come down from ancient times.

3: informal : to stop feeling the effect of (an illegal drug): to stop being high on (a drug)

an addict who is coming down from heroin

Reference

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When put forth as “coming down from The mountain” (as opposed to A mountain, any mountain) there is a connotation of epic transformation.

Coming down from the mountain carries the message of humbling and seeking atonement.

Coming down from a high and haughty place. A lonely place. Back to community and communal responsibility.

Coming down from a place measured by lofty ambitions, personal dreams, self-oriented exploration, (from up there) back down to earth, so to speak.

A coming down from “alonement” to atonement.

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