This is from the BBC.Fisherman

The fisherman was found on a signal buoy two days after he had fallen from board his boat.

The expression "to fall from something or a place" is ok and is idiomatic. For instance "He fell from the roof".

"to fall from" seems to be enough to make sense and it is correct grammar and it does not require any other preposition. So, the author could have said "He fell from the boat" or "He fell off the boat", couldn't he?

So, then, is the word "board" seems to be redundant, because it can be omitted and the sentence would still be grammatically correct. Or can it not be omitted because it is a boat?

  • 4
    'Board' in that place is not merely redundant, it's an error that has not been noticed by the BBC. He fell from his boat, or (maybe, less natural) he fell from on board his boat. Commented Dec 28, 2022 at 11:26
  • @MichaelHarvey thanks a lot.
    – Yunus
    Commented Dec 28, 2022 at 11:29
  • @MichaelHarvey Or perhaps from aboard his boat.
    – WS2
    Commented Dec 28, 2022 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


The text you quoted contains a grammatical mistake. This is very common in photo captions on news websites as they are written as tags and can evade spelling and grammar checks.

What I think they meant to write was:

He had fallen from onboard his boat.

I could understand why the word "onboard" could be seen as redundant in certain contexts.

For example:

  • He fell from his boat
  • He fell from onboard his boat

Both ultimately mean he fell from his boat.

However, 'onboard' carries with it the meaning that someone has boarded a boat and is on the deck. There would be a huge difference in meaning between someone falling in their house and falling off their house. It would be natural to use the right preposition to make the distinction that they were inside their house and not on the roof. So it is just as natural to use the right language when describing someone's position on a boat.

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