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Suppose I'm instructing people to learn Chinese kungfu and I ask them to look at the direction, downward and forward(it's the movement of their eyes).

If I want to say "look forward and look downward at the same time", can I express it in the following way?

"look forward and downward."

I don't know if it's natural in English. If not, how should we say? Thank you in advance.

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Perhaps look straight down. Hmm, that doesn't sound quite right. –  Damkerng T. Dec 17 '13 at 9:13
    
You might be interested in our related site: English Language Learners –  Matt E. Эллен Dec 17 '13 at 9:14
1  
Thank you. But can I say "look down in front of you" or " the flying insect is straight down (as you said) –  longxianchen Dec 17 '13 at 9:29
    
I think straight down often implies below your feet (if you were standing). –  chaosamoeba Mar 11 '14 at 18:09
    
I think you need to be explicit about where precisely you mean. Can you give us a picture (from the internet) or describe in metres, where on the floor they should look? Do they look first forward and then downward? Do they look down at an angle of 45 degrees? Please explain in more detail. Thank you. –  chasly from UK 2 hours ago

1 Answer 1

You can use either "look forward" or "look downward" in English but the instruction "look forward and downward" is a little confusing because the directions are considered somewhat different from each other.

Another complicating factor is the idiom, "forward and upward" which isn't directly related to physical directions. If you were to say "forward and downward" many people would associate the phrase with the idiom and assume you were invoking some form of wordplay.

The alternative you mention in the comments is much more clear:

Look down in front of you.

This is a relatively common expression and means exactly what you want it to mean. You can also omit "down":

Look in front of you.

Most English speakers will look slightly ahead of themselves and then scan downward looking for the intended object.

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