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In the headline:

Keanu Reeves plunges down the rabbit hole again in The Matrix Resurrections

what is the difference if I remove the "down" from "plunges down"?

P.S.: this headline was/is on NY Times but was changed through the day.

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  • 1
    You can plunge from a high point (fall rapidly), but you plunge into or down a hole. Dec 24, 2021 at 12:47
  • The syntax of to plunge here is exactly the same as to go. That's to say, just as you need the preposition in Keanu Reeves goes down the rabbit hole, you also need it in Keanu Reeves plunges down the rabbit hole. Dec 24, 2021 at 18:07

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I think that it is notable to start by mentioning that one "plunges" a toilet, and that makes the following sentence a bit humorous!

Keanu Reeves plunges the rabbit hole

In seriousness, there is a phrase down the rabbit hole, which means

To enter into a situation… that is particularly strange… that becomes increasingly [strange] as it develops

To "plunge down" is

To fall or plummet down something at a high… speed.

Putting these two (down the rabbit hole and plunge down) together, the sentence means that Keanu is "going down the rabbit hole" at what one can describe as a very fast speed.

If you remove the "down" from the original sentence, you

  • (a) risk the reader thinking that Keanu is plunging the rabbit hole (like a toilet!), and

  • (b) lose the idiomatic phrase "down the rabbit hole" and its meaning.

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