He fell from/off the horse and broke his arm

I'm in doubt. Which version sounds more natural in English?

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    We don't do editing here and you need to show some research. Also, this question belongs on ELL and not here. Thanks. :) Some mod should migrate the question to ELL.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 18:25
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    I think it should have stayed where it was - it would never have occurred to me there was a significant usage split based on first/third person subject, but no significant difference between AmE / BrE, despite the fact that Americans are culturally still far more interested in horse-riding than Brits. It can only be a formal / informal thing. Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 18:46
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    @FumbleFingers This question is a baby question which is why I think it needed to be here and not there.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 19:11
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    The question probably should have been left on ELU until the specific problem OP was asking about was clarified. Is this about prepositions or verbs? (It would be harder to justify keeping it on ELU if it's about the verbs.)
    – Laurel
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 19:43
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    @FumbleFingers Considering that you already wrote an answer about prepositions, I've edited the question to be about that. If everlearner2023 does want to know about the verbs, that should be asked as a new question (on ELL).
    – Laurel
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


Both prepositions are fine - they mean the same, and there's no significant AmE / BrE usage split. But there is a tale to be told using NGrams...

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Note that I increased occurrence counts for fell off/from my horse by a factor of 8 so they could be compared with the far more common fell off/from his horse, because we're only interested in the relative frequency of the two different prepositions. The fact that his horse is more common in absolute terms is distractingly irrelevant.

There will be hundreds if not thousands of written instances of all four variants, so I'm confident it's statistically significant that I fell off my horse and He fell from his horse are much more common than the other way around.

The obvious reason for the difference is that such utterances are more likely to be informal in first person (me), and formal in third person (him).

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