"Jaefer says he was at home with his wife and three children when the earthquake struck and "the floor fell through". Earthquake in Morocco

In terms of falling physically, I have seen verbs like "fall off, fall over, fall down" but I have never heard of "fall through".

I looked it up but "fall through" has a different sense, so it does not seem to apply.

Finally, if I tried to guess what "fell through" meant, I would imagine the floor of the house fell down to downstairs which is lower in level. Or if the house is already on the ground floor, maybe the floor fell down into a crack which must have emerged in the ground due to the earthquake.

Is that right?

  • 1
    In this context, through carries a sense of to a different place (to the floor below). Where off = away from original (high) positon, over = toppling from vertical to horizontal, and down simply emphasizes the act of falling. Sep 11, 2023 at 12:21

2 Answers 2


To say that the floor fell through means that it collapsed onto whatever had been beneath it.


In this case, due to surrounding context I would agree that he is describing a complete collapse. However, I would generally use "the floor fell through" to mean that some portion opened up, letting whatever was on the floor above hit the lower level. It does not need to be a complete collapse. I.E., only the portion beneath a person might fail and the person fall and I would say that the floor fell through. Indeed, the person doesn't even actually have to fall all the way to the floor below. A rotten board might fail but the person fall only as far as their knee (because the failure is localized) and I would say the floor fell through.

I would also say "collapse" or "pancake" are less ambiguous in describing a complete failure. The latter especially in a three or more floor structure.

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