Could you tell me if there is any difference in meaning between burn a house and burn down a house? For example:

The man went crazy and burned his house.

The man went crazy and burned down his house.

  • 1
    Burn down implies that the house is 'destroyed'.
    – Void
    Jan 1, 2021 at 15:22
  • down stresses the completeness/extremeness of the action. If you burn a house down, you destroy it with fire completely, beyond repair; you burn it to the ground. Jan 1, 2021 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


Most native speakers would not say 'burn a house' even if just one part was burnt ('burned' in US English). If a house is destroyed by fire it is burnt/burned down.

  • could "he burned his house" mean he started a fire, or slightly damaged the house with fire, but it was put out quickly and it's reparable/the damage isn't that severe? Jan 1, 2021 at 15:50
  • 2
    It could mean that, but we wouldn't say it that way. You might say 'my kitchen was damaged by a fire'. Jan 1, 2021 at 15:51

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