I got an e-mail in my work where men wrote that something application are down but I`m not advanced in English and could you help me why is use this form? In my opinion I would have written: application dosen't work.

Thanks in advance.

closed as off-topic by Kit Z. Fox Jul 29 '13 at 11:08

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – Kit Z. Fox
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Please consider asking your question in ELL, English language learners. There are both non-native and native speakers along with experienced EFL teachers who will be happy to give you an answer. After all your English is not advanced and here at ELU we want users to understand our answers. :) – Mari-Lou A Jul 29 '13 at 9:52

It's jargon; a technical shorthand used in one particular field — in this case, computing. Down is a single syllable which is understood to mean the wordier "doesn't work", or ODO's even lengthier meaning:

down adjective
3 [predic.] (of a computer system) temporarily out of action or unavailable:
sorry, but the computer’s down

But that is not actually listed in OED3 — and it's had draft additions up to February 2005. There is a related sense, though, which may show how it's evolved to computing...

2. In a low condition of health or vitality. rare.
1690 W. Walker Idiomatologia Anglo-Lat. 319 An old down~man [L. depontanus].
1885 W. J. Fitzpatrick Life T. N. Burke II. 225 A friend who visited [him] on one of his ‘down~days’ [= days of sickness].

  • 1
    Agreed, but also if you use a 'state of being' or passive voice-like construction in these type of service disruption situations, it suggests no agent (for the action) and therefore for companies no identification with the fault. It just happened to us...not by our hand. – Qube Jul 29 '13 at 11:51
  • It's far more than computer jargon. It's a piece of a really big general metaphor theme involving UP and DOWN. As you will see on the second page of the link. – John Lawler Jul 29 '13 at 19:21
  • My impression is that people describe computers that stop working as "down" in order to contrast that state to their earlier working state, which at its outset is frequently described as "up and running." I doubt that most English speakers would characterize a computer system that (1) doesn't currently work and (2) has never worked in the past as "down," because in that case what I take to be the necessary antecedent "up" state has never existed. – Sven Yargs Jul 30 '13 at 2:38

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