Monday, June 17, 2024
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Home"Felled" or "fallen": The tale of a tree and the Grammar Police

“Felled” or “fallen”: The tale of a tree and the Grammar Police

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The word means cut down, knocked over. Often it is associated with language literary writers use, those who create stories of ladies with heaving bosoms and tight corsets, of brooding knights etched against moors with lances and noble steeds, ready to smite the enemy at a moment’s notice.

Felled. Cut down. Struck down. Often with force.

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As opposed to fallen, which could mean the same thing but not quite. Fallen implies being knocked down without any outside force.

The debate on “felled” vs “fallen” came about when netizens corrected a mainstream media outlet for using the word “felled” to refer to a tree that had blocked one of the streets in the nation’s capital.

Grammar nazis of course pounced on the word, some deriding and mocking the outlet for using the incorrect form of the past participle for “fall”.

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It should be “fallen”, one netizen insisted, while another pointed out the supposed error, outright calling the media outlet “shameful”.

Others took the side of the outlet, saying that “felled” in fact is correct in that context, as the tree was struck down – or was felled – by an outside force.

It was a day of enlightenment all in all. For some, they were finally acquainted with a word that has long been in use popularly even outside of literary sources.

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For others, it became an eye-opener of the limited vocabulary of the so-called grammar Nazis.

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Hannah A. Papasin
Hannah A. Papasinhttp://facebook.com/hannah.mariveles
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.
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