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 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. – Andrew Tobilko Jan 1 at 15:40

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? – Andrew Tobilko Jan 1 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'. – Michael Harvey Jan 1 at 15:51

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.