He laid down four sticks beside this hole, and dove down into the river with one stick.

From "Folk-tales of Salishan and Sahaptin tribes" by F. Boas

Is the second "down" redundant here?

From Google definition:

Dive (verb)

  1. plunge head first into water.
  2. (of an aircraft or bird) plunge steeply downward through the air.

There seems to be no such thing as "dove up".

  • it's the same sort of idea as telling someone to 'sit down'. We use repetition in language for poetic effect.
    – user180089
    Jun 24, 2016 at 22:09

2 Answers 2


It's not necessarily redundant, just clarifying direction, based on an alternative definition of the word which emphasizes the movement of the subject without necessarily implying that the object is water by the verb itself.

According to Oxford dictionaries, an alternative definition of "dive" is:

  1. move quickly or suddenly in a specified direction:

    Example: "a bullet passed close to his head, and he dived for cover"

    Synonyms: leap, jump, lunge, launch oneself.

It's likely that Boas is merely using dive in this sense, and thus manually clarifying the direction ("down") and destination ("the river") of the action taken by the subject. The subject could, by this definition, have dived sideways, or even upward, and still come to rest in the river.

  • 2
    Or it could have been a very shallow dive intended to gain distance from the shore rather than depth. In which case it could have been dove out into the river
    – Jim
    Jun 23, 2016 at 3:42

It is redundant, but it is not wrong. You can word it that way if you want to emphasize that he is going downward, or if you prefer the sound of it for stylistic reasons.

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