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Falling, dropping, and slipping

You may be familiar with the verb rutschen ("to slip" or "to slide") from our previous newsletters about the phrase Guten Rutsch, which is used on New Year's Eve. 

 

Er ist durch den Kamin gerutscht?

He slid down the chimney?

Caption 79, Peppa Wutz: Weihnachten

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You may also hear the verb ausrutschen, which means to slip (and possibly fall), and the command rutsch rüber, which is how you tell someone to "slide over" or "move over" so that you can have a seat.

 

Ich bin mal ausgerutscht auf der Bühne.

I once slipped on stage.

Caption 39, Live-Entertainment-Award: Glamouröse Preisverleihung

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When we talk about falling, common verbs are herunterfallen or its shortened colloquial form runterfallen (which are similar to "to fall down"), hinfallen and umfallen (a bit more like "to fall over"), and stürzen and abstürzen (these are often used to indicate a bad fall). 

 

Er ist da bestimmt nicht zufällig runtergefallen. Das war kein Unfall.

He certainly didn't fall off accidentally. That was no accident.

Caption 10, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

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Im Herbst sind die Blätter rot und orange. Im Winter fallen sie herunter.

In autumn, the leaves are red and orange. In winter, they fall down.

Captions 44-45, Deutsch mit Eylin: Pronomen

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Ich bin ja auch schon zweimal hingefallen, aber ist bis jetzt nichts passiert.

I've also already fallen two times, but up till now nothing has happened.

Captions 15-16, Jenny und Alena: Autos und Motorräder

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Und dann ist er bei einer Bergtour abgestürzt.

And then he fell during a mountain hike.

Caption 12, Lilly unter den Linden: Lilly und Tante Lena

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Nach Elmau, da ist ein Skifahrer gestürzt und hat eine Rückenverletzung.

Toward Elmau, a skier has fallen and has a back injury.

Caption 7, Rettungsflieger Im Einsatz

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The verbs fallen and fallen lassen are used when you drop something. Look at how the following sentences are constructed:

 

Oje, Linus hat seine Gießkanne ins Wasser fallen lassen.

Oh dear, Linus has dropped his watering can into the water.

Caption 28, Peppa Wutz: Sport

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Dennis ist kein Stift runtergefallen.

Dennis didn't drop a pencil.

Caption 109, Kurzfilme: Das Tagebuch

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You will also see fallen or its past participle gefallen used with the meaning of "to fall." As you know, gefallen is also a completely different verb that is used when we like something. However, structural and contextual differences between the phrase Es hat mir gefallen ("I liked it") and a sentence like Ich bin ins Wasser gefallen ("I fell into the water") don't allow for much ambiguity. 

 

Further Learning
You will find many more examples of these phrases and verbs used in context on Yabla German. These will help you get a better grasp of which verb is appropriate in which context, and how they are implemented structurally.

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