Phrasal Verbs with Fall 

05:43 October 27, 2022

Phrasal Verbs with Fall 

Autumn – the season when temperatures drop and leaves change color – is also known as fall. Fall in the United States is a lively time. Seasonal vegetables such as pumpkins and squash appear on farms, in stores, and in popular dishes. Leaves on most trees turn from green to fiery red, bright orange and golden yellow.

In keeping with the lively, colorful spirit of fall, we will explore a lively, colorful area of connection between fall and grammar: phrasal verbs.

What are phrasal verbs?

Fall, a noun, also has a verb form. The verb form is more commonly used, Google’s Ngram Viewer suggests.

The verb form often appears in phrasal verbs that have lively meanings. Such phrasal verbs add color to the landscape of English vocabulary.

Phrasal verbs are groups of words that mean something different from what the individual words suggest. Phrasal verbs generally have a verb and one or two short words such as in, up, behind, and so on.

When we talk about phrasal verbs with fall, we mean that fall is acting as the main verb. One or more short words come after the verb fall to give it a special meaning.

Let’s start with a common example: fall into.

Fall into

Fall into has two common meanings. It can mean to be caught in a trap (either literally or figuratively). It can also mean to begin to do something or be affected by something without wanting or trying to.

So, we might say the following sentences:

The animal fell into the trap.


Joe answered the question before realizing he had fallen into a trap.

We might also say:

Joe fell into debt after his business failed.

In all of these examples, the person or thing doing the action does not expect the result. A person or thing caught in a trap does not expect to end up in a trap, for example.

Fall for

Let’s continue with another phrasal verb: fall for.

It has two common varieties: fall for (someone) and fall for (something). The difference in meaning comes after the phrasal verb.

When you fall for someone, it means you start to feel strong desire and care for them.

So, you might say:

I fell for David because he made me laugh a lot.


I fell for her the first time I saw her.

But when you fall for something, you are fooled by something, such as a trick or joke.

You might hear a person say:

Joe agreed to Anna’s idea? I can’t believe he fell for that old trick!

Such a statement about Joe is not kind. It is making fun of him.


Let’s take some time to work with these ideas.

Listen to the following words and use the correct phrasal verb in the blanks.

He _(blank)____ _(blank)____ bad behaviors.

Pause the audio to consider your answer.

Here are a couple possible answers:

He fell into bad behaviors.


He is falling into bad behaviors.

The reason we chose fall into is because it means to begin to do something without wanting or trying to. You are saying that for whatever reason the person is developing bad habits.

Now let’s try another example.

Listen to the following words and use the correct phrasal verb in the blanks.

As soon as their eyes made contact, they ____ ______ each other.

Pause the audio to consider your answer.

Here is one possible answer:

As soon as their eyes made contact, they fell for each other.

This means that the two people had a romantic interest in each other as soon as they made eye contact.

Closing thoughts

In today’s report, we explored phrasal verbs that involve the verb fall. Like the colorful fall season, these phrasal verbs have colorful meanings. They are linked to ideas about unexpected results, traps, and even love.

The next time you see a phrasal verb with fall, consider its meaning. Ask yourself how it connects to – or how it is different from – other phrasal verbs with fall.

Perhaps one day you will say to yourself: I fell for that phrasal verb the first time I heard it.

I’m John Russell.

John Russell wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.


phrasal verb – n. grammar : a group of words that functions as a verb and is made up of a verb and a preposition, an adverb, or both

literally – adv. in a way that uses the ordinary and usual meaning of a word

figuratively – adv. with a meaning that is different from the basic or literal meaning and that expresses an idea by using language that usually describes something else

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