Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

My linguistic teacher told me I am speaking like the people who lived hundreds of years ago, when I told him, "The paper fall to the ground when I pass it by," this afternoon. Please tell me which form below is correct when speaking? In addition, which expression seems more modern in conversational English?

1.The paper fell to the ground when I passed by. (fell to)

2.The paper fell on the ground when I passed by. (fell on)

3.The paper fell onto the ground when I passed by. (fell onto)

4.The paper fell onto the ground when I passed by it. (add it behind by)

5.The paper dropped onto the ground when I passed by.

Please select one answer from these 5 or type another one that you think is better and more appropriate than them.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by simchona, Matt Эллен, TimLymington, Mahnax, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Aug 26 '12 at 4:34

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
You're asking for a poll, which is not constructive. Voting to close. –  simchona Apr 6 '12 at 2:52
    
it seems like a poll, but i am not sure if there are some better expressions exist for this situation. –  Wang Xu Apr 6 '12 at 3:20

1 Answer 1

You said to your instructor, "The paper fall to the ground when I pass it by." THAT is the sentence that the instructor was objecting to because it is grammatically incorrect, which makes it sound, I guess, like you are an older person who never quite learned English. I'm not 100% sure what the instructor meant by that critique. Nevertheless, any of your five sentences is better than the one that you spoke to your instructor. I personally think Sentence 1 sounds most like what a native speaker would say. Sentence 5 is probably the worst because it makes it sound like the paper moved on its own (dropped onto the ground).

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks,JLG.I know it now.:) –  Wang Xu Apr 6 '12 at 21:32

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.