Learn the many uses of ‘DOWN’ in English

Learn the many uses of ‘DOWN’ in English

Hello. I’m Gill at www.engvid.com, and today’s lesson
is on the use of the word “down”. Okay. So, the word “down” appears in a lot of different
ways, and it can be a preposition, which means in this direction – down; it can be a noun
or an adjective; and it can be a verb and a phrasal verb. Okay? And also, as we’ll see in this column, it
can be used in combination with other words to mean something specific. So, in this first half of the lesson we’ll
just look at a few examples of that. So, first of all, as a preposition—very simple—
“down the hill”. I’m walking down the hill in this direction,
or I’m going down the stairs in a building. Down the stairs. So, the opposite of “up”: “down”. Okay? So, that’s simple. Then as a noun… “Down” as a noun can mean feathers. There are certain very soft feathers which
you can put inside a quilt that you sleep under and they’re very… It’s very comfortable, very soft, very warm. So, “down”. From ducks in particular – the duck, the bird. Feathers are very soft, so a “down quilt”
is a very soft, warm quilt. And then you can have the adjective
that comes from that. If something is “downy”, “downy”, it’s very
soft when you touch it. “Downy”. Okay. Maybe the feathers themselves. Right. And then also as an adjective, coming back
to the sort of preposition type of meaning, the “down escalator”. If you’re in a big department store with many
floors, you… Usually you may have lifts that go up and
down, you may have stairs that go up and down, but you could also have an escalator – an
automatic, electric escalator where you just stand on the steps. Or you’re in a Metro, like in the London Underground
or some other big city where they have they have the Metro, you have a moving staircase
called an “escalator”. So, you can have the “down escalator” – the
one that goes down; you can have the “up escalator” – the one that goes up. So, the “down escalator”. “Down” is used as an adjective to describe
which escalator it is; it’s the one that goes down. Okay. And then another use as an adjective: If somebody
makes a “down payment” on something, they want to buy, for example, a car – if it’s
an expensive item. It’s… another word for this is a “deposit”. Okay. A “deposit”. So, you might pay a 10% deposit on a car. So, that’s called a “down payment”, because
you put the money down. The idea is you put the money down on the
table, metaphorically, to show that you’re serious about buying the item, so that’s a
down payment. And then you would pay the rest later when…
when you collect the car, hopefully. So… if everything goes well. That’s a “down payment”. Okay. Right. And then using “down” as part of a verb, an
action: “To down a drink” is to drink… to finish a drink. Maybe if you’re in a hurry sometimes if you’re
somewhere like a pub or a bar or a cafe and you have to go quickly, but you don’t want
to leave half of your drink behind – you down your drink quickly, like this. It goes down into your stomach. So: “To down your drink” is to swallow it
quickly. So, to swallow or to drink. To drink your drink quickly. Okay? And then it’s used with the verb “to put”:
“to put something down”. “I put my keys down somewhere, and now I don’t
remember where. I put the keys down.” But also you can have this, again, as a noun:
a “put-down”-“put” with a hyphen, “down” – a “put-down” is when somebody says something
to make another person feel a bit small, and you… You would say: “Oh, dear, that was a bit of
a put-down”, if someone has said something that sounded as if they were criticizing you,
and made you feel about that big. “Oh, dear, that was a put-down. I’ll have to live with that. That person wasn’t very nice to say that”,
whatever it was. So, a “put-down” is when someone says something
that puts you down, metaphorically; pushes you down, like that. Okay? And then as a phrasal verb: “to track down”,
“to track something down”, or “to track somebody down” is to look for somebody and to find
them. You look for them and you find them; “to track
down”. Maybe someone who’s committed a crime, the
police have to track them down and catch them. Okay? So, the “track” is like the pathway that you’re
following to find that person. Okay. And then: “to calm down”. If someone is very upset, and angry, and shouting
– people might say: “Please, just calm down. Calm down.” So, they’re trying to make them quiet again. “Get back to normal. Calm down”, and people speak quietly to try
to make the person be a bit quieter and not so angry. Okay. “Calm down”. Right. Okay, so moving on to the second column, here. These are all words that include… Words or phrases that include the word “down”. So: “down to earth”, literally, of course,
it means down to the planet; the earth. But… So, this planet that we’re on. But metaphorically, it means… If someone is “down to earth”, it means they’re
normal, sensible. You could say: “They… they have their feet
on the ground”; they’re not sort of floating up. They’re not very… You know, they’re not having lots of imaginary
ideas and crazy ideas. They’re down to earth; a normal, sensible
person who makes you feel… Well, it could be a little bit dull, of course,
but also you can rely on somebody, you can trust somebody who is down to earth. They may be very good for giving advice, for
example. They might give you good advice. So, someone who’s down to earth you feel you
can trust them. Okay. If someone is “down and out” it means that
they have not had much luck in their life; it means they have no money, they may not
have anywhere to live, they may be homeless, they may be sleeping on the street – they’re
down and out. So, it’s two things: “down”, meaning their
life has gone down, they haven’t succeeded, they have failed at things, they’re down;
and they’re also “out”, they’re nowhere. So, it’s a very sad position to be in. “Down and out”. Okay. “Downright” is used as an adverb. So, if somebody is downright… For example, if someone is rude all the time,
they say really bad things and upset people: “They are downright rude.” It means they are really, really, completely
rude. So, it’s a sort of… it makes it more…
it’s a stronger way; rather than just say: “That person is rude”, “That person is downright
rude”. It emphasizes it; it intensifies it. Okay. Okay, so if you’re “downcast” or “downhearted”,
you’re feeling sad and pessimistic. Maybe things have not gone well, you’ve had
a bad day – at the end of the day, you think: “Oh, dear, that was a terrible day. Nothing… Nothing went right. I feel so downcast, so downhearted.” You feel no optimism for the future. I think when you feel like that you just have
to go to bed and sleep, and then wake up the next day and try to start again, and hopefully
the next day will be better. So… But sometimes… Everybody gets this sometimes; they feel a
bit downcast, downhearted when things haven’t gone well. Okay. Oh, and then to follow on from that, you can
be “down and out” usually after a “downfall”. Somebody’s “downfall” is when they have maybe
been in a high position, they have had a… Been in a power-… Powerful position. A politician, for example, but then things
go wrong, they lose their position. They… They don’t have that job anymore. And, again, nobody… Nobody trusts them, nobody likes them, nobody
will give them a job – that’s the downfall. It sounds fairly obvious: “downfall”. Okay. Then quite different, here, this is to do
with the weather. A “downpour” is when there’s a lot of rain,
very heavy rain. So, if you are in a downpour, you get completely
wet. So, you don’t want to be in a downpour. There are different types of rain, as I’m
sure you know. A “downpour” is the very heavy rain when you
get really wet and dripping. Okay. A “downturn”, that’s often with things like
sales figures. If the sales figures are sort of falling,
you’re not selling so many of a particular product, there’s been a downturn. So, if you think of a kind of graph where
you have the sales of something, and then suddenly it starts to go down like that, it’s
turning downwards like an arrow going down. So: “There has been a downturn in the sales
figures this month”, for example. Okay. And then this one: “down under” actually refers
from… From the UK where we are on the planet. We’re talking about the other side of the
planet. So, from where we are in the Northern Hemisphere,
we are talking about the opposite side of the planet – the Southern Hemisphere, and
in particular Australia and New Zealand are sort of jokingly referred to as “down under”. Okay. By going down under, they’re emigrating down
under. Okay. And then finally in this first half of the
lesson, if somebody says: “down with…!” this is usually in a demonstration in the
street – someone might have a placard, saying: “Down with taxes!” or “Down with pollution!”,
something like that. They’re protesting against something. “Oh, down with” and then the name of a politician
or a political party. So, down with something or somebody is a way
of saying: “We don’t want that anymore; we don’t want that person anymore or that political
party. We… We want them to finish. We don’t want them; we’re rejecting them.” So: “Down with” whatever it is. Okay, so that’s the first half of the lesson,
and we’ll just move on now with a few more examples. Okay, so let’s look at how the word “down”
can be used as part of a sentence to mean something particular. Okay. So, first of all: “I’m feeling down.” You can probably guess. If you’re feeling down, you’re feeling sad,
a bit depressed. Okay. Not… Not feeling great; I’m feeling down. That’s a bit sad. Okay? Also, if someone’s not very well, they have
a cold so they’re sneezing, they’re congested, they can’t breathe properly: “She’s down with
a cold. My friend is down with a cold at the moment”,
meaning she’s ill; she’s not well. She has a cold. “Down with a cold”. Okay. And then: “He’s down on his luck”, meaning
he doesn’t… He hasn’t had any luck; he’s had bad luck,
actually. You can have bad luck or good luck. If he’s down on his luck, it means he hasn’t
had any good luck recently; things are not going well for him. Okay. If you’re in a car and you think it’s going
a little bit too fast, you could say to the driver: “Slow down! Slow down!” so that’s fairly obvious. Drive more slowly. The opposite would be: “Speed up! Speed up!” So, that would be the other… The other option: To speed up. But not a very sensible thing to do on most
roads. So: “Slow down! Slow down!” And then if you have a dog, dogs are often
called “Rover” or that’s the kind of clich� word. People always think of a dog if you say: “Rover”,
either that or a make of car. But here it’s a dog. If it’s the kind of dog that jumps… Jumps up at you, you can just say: “Down! Down, Rover! Down, Rover!” meaning: “Get down. Stop jumping up”. “Down, Rover!” Okay. This one, if somebody says: “Four down, two
to go”, okay? So, maybe in an office, there may be six people
they interviewed for a job. Okay? So the people who are doing the interviews
have to see each person in turn; they may do it all on one day, possibly. So, this means: “Four down”, meaning four
done. We’ve seen four people now, and there were
two more to go or to come. So, we’ve done four, we have to do another
two, and then we’re finished. “Four down, two to go.” So, you’re partway. You’re more than halfway through the interview
process. Okay. All right. And then this one is fairly obvious: If someone
is playing loud music and it’s hurting your ears, you just say: “Please, turn… Could you turn the music down? Turn the music down”, it’s either too loud
or I’m trying to do some work, I can’t concentrate. “Turn it down”, and then they turn the knob
down that way. Turn it down; the volume. Okay? Right. And then this one, can you guess what this
means? “We’re down to our last slice of bread!” Okay? So, panic. It means: “We only have one slice of bread
left; we have no more bread”, so” “We’re down to”. If you’ve had… If you can imagine a pile of bread like that
in slices, and you’ve eaten all of it right down to the last one: “We’re right down to
our last slice of bread, there. Somebody must go out and buy some more”, because
bread is so essential. Okay? So, that’s that one. And then if it’s “down to somebody”… “It’s down to me which broadband supplier
we use”, that means I make the decision; I choose. There may be three or four broadband suppliers,
and it may be my responsibility to decide which one to choose, looking at the prices,
and the service, and all of that. So: “It’s down to me”, meaning: “It’s my responsibility.” Years ago, and people still say this: “It’s
up to me.” So, it’s funny; both mean the same, really. “It’s up to me which broadband supplier we
use.” But “down to me” is a more modern version
of that. People still say: “It’s up to me”, but a more
modern way is to say: “It’s down to me”. I don’t know how it changed, but there we
are. Okay. And then: “The computer is down at the moment.” You can probably guess – the computer is not
working. Oh, dear. Disaster. What do you do when your computer isn’t working? It’s not a good situation for most of us,
because we rely on them so much now. So: “The computer is down at the moment. It’s not working; we’re trying to fix it.” Okay. And then, finally: “This job… The job that I’m doing suits me down to the
ground.” Can you guess what that means? It means: “This job is perfect for me.” It’s almost like if you wear a suit of clothes,
you look good in it, and it fits you and everything – it’s just a perfect fit, so it’s a little
bit that kind of idea; that you might have a job that suits you down to the ground, meaning
from the top of your head all the way down to your feet. The whole… Everything about that job is right and perfect
for you, or for me. Okay. So, that’s… I think that’s a rather nice one, there. Okay, so I hope that’s been a useful lesson
for you, and perhaps taught you some vocabulary, as well as ways to use the word “down” in
all kinds of different situations. So, if you’d like to go to the website: www.engvid.com,
there’s a quiz on there to test your knowledge of this, so do give that a try. And thank you for watching, and I hope to
see you again soon. Okay. Bye for now.


  • Ismail Poddar

    April 3, 2019

    Thanks a lot madam. After many days later

  • Eloi Pujol Ribalta

    April 3, 2019

    Thanks Gill !

  • Kashif Ali Khan

    April 3, 2019

    Nice video Maam

  • muslim games 1

    April 3, 2019

    thanks for good and useful lesson Ms Gill. I have wached your such a great lessons so far. Thanks a lot!! You are the best teacher i have seen!!!Warm wishes and a lot new lessons for us! Thanks again!!!

  • Romhy Santana

    April 3, 2019

    very clearly í like your way you teaching

  • been linh

    April 3, 2019

    Nice mom I love your teaching ❤️

  • Ali Aljmaly

    April 3, 2019

    Great job thanks 🙏

  • Taher elsayed

    April 3, 2019

    شكرا جزيلا

  • Giuseppe Coppola

    April 3, 2019

    Speaking of prepositions, could you please make a video, or at least give now a little elucidation, about the difference between adverbs and prepositions? Thank you Gill, in any case

  • ismail ibrahimi

    April 3, 2019

    Thanks dear teacher

  • José Sierra

    April 3, 2019

    It was a really good lesson, it suits me down to the ground. You're excellent.


    April 3, 2019

    I love you, Ms Gill.

  • Jenny B

    April 4, 2019

    Never realized how many different ways we use the word down. Although, I use them all.

  • Jenny B

    April 4, 2019

    Is downtown on there?

  • Leonardo Pezzente

    April 4, 2019

    I love your videos Gill I swear!


    April 4, 2019

    Hi… Please help me…. Is it correct to say… John (Student), You have been promoted for class 2 (or grade 2). Should it be promoted for or promoted to?

  • wei yan

    April 4, 2019

    Thanks so much for your help! I had leaned so many useful knowledge of English from your class!

  • Lisa Marie

    April 4, 2019

    How i adore you madam(Mrs Gill), and especially your lovely accent.

  • Оксана Улыбина

    April 4, 2019

    Thank you for your a great lesson.It is verry useful for me.All the best to you.

  • Hussain Iraqi

    April 4, 2019

    Thank you very much teacher for this helpful lesson ❤

  • anna

    April 4, 2019

    You are the best teacher⚘

  • Seed Fénix

    April 4, 2019

    I like her as a teacher thanks for your seeds miss

  • César Reyes

    April 5, 2019

    THANKS! I really love your videos… Please, could you make a video about the use of the word SOME and its variety? (Somewhere, somebody, something…) Thanks a lot.

  • Ana

    April 5, 2019

    omg …she is so good, best teacher ever… thank you

  • Jack Lake

    April 5, 2019

    We really appreciate
    your work, Gill!
    From Brazil, God Bless You!!!

  • kivan karimi

    April 5, 2019

    tank you for kurdistan

  • oni Gonzalez

    April 6, 2019

    Much obliged ma'am

  • Aydin vosough

    April 6, 2019

    They let me down

  • yong luo

    April 6, 2019

    thank you teacher !

  • Silva hanjibin ARMYBUDDY NEVERLAND

    April 6, 2019

    Thank you Ms Gill I am really happy to learn this with you I love your way of teaching you are a great woman 💜🇩🇿🇩🇿🇩🇿🇩🇿

  • Iris P

    April 7, 2019

    thank you Mrs Gill you are great profesor🥁⚘🌳

  • Вадим Лапин

    April 7, 2019

    I've really liked you immediately from first watching!!!

  • Maria Sandoval del Marchiani

    April 7, 2019

    Thank you very much Gill.

  • Angry Laugher

    April 7, 2019

    i love her explanation with realtime examples…..

  • nancy duran

    April 7, 2019

    Hola Profesora de Inglés. I LOVE.

  • z. Gh

    April 8, 2019


  • Elle Rafaelle

    April 9, 2019

    thank you from Russia

  • Javier Vanegas Salgado

    April 10, 2019

    Love your videos. Your explantations connect straight to the right example. Thanks.

  • Manjira Banerjee

    April 11, 2019

    A super helpful lesson Ma'am.You are so savant &graceful.Adore you Jill.

  • Emilio Martín

    April 11, 2019

    This is not the first time I watch your videos but I wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your clear explanations. Your pronunciation is so clear I can understand you pretty well. Thanks for doing such kind of videos. Great work!

  • Ha Jerry

    April 13, 2019

    AS a little Chinese college student,I found your videos are really interesting, constructive, delicate and well-prepared.You are really kind and nice, ma'am!!Thank you very much for your lessons.

  • anji anji

    April 13, 2019

    When I listen u r voice …. it's refresh me a lot…..
    I wish many more videos from u gill…..😍

  • Janna J

    April 13, 2019

    😲😲oh just click in my head when you said down could mean soft, the clothing softer liquid we use in the washing machine 😬😖 Downy

  • Bary Reque

    April 13, 2019

    Good teacher, your lessons are easy to understand. Congratulations

  • Allan Core

    April 15, 2019

    Bottoms up is also suitable to cheers a drink. I hope this is helpful for us.

  • Chi Asmr

    April 19, 2019

    Hello Gill❤🙏
    Happy Easter.
    Thank you for helping me improve my vocabulary .

  • Mangal Gharami

    April 19, 2019

    Oh I love you. Will you marry me. My beautiful and sweet grandma

  • E Ds

    April 20, 2019

    Oh! My English lady again

  • Ralph Detonado

    April 21, 2019

    I ♡ professor Gill

  • malar

    April 21, 2019

    Excellent job. Understood every part

  • alzahra سنباي

    April 22, 2019

    hank You Madame You are verry nice and class women l Love your vidéos

  • Yacine Ch

    April 22, 2019

    Good tanks

  • Sujit Mukherjee

    April 23, 2019

    You explain very well. From india

  • yi zhu

    April 25, 2019

    Burn down, double down?

  • michel nyeck

    April 28, 2019

    Thank you so much Gill. You are really amazing…And very helpful…See you.

  • Safar Ibadov

    May 1, 2019


  • Hardadeep Biswas

    May 3, 2019

    She is so charming. I would wager she was an angel in her younger days.

  • kamel hatem

    May 4, 2019

    Thank you teacher!

  • دليل العنفوان

    May 6, 2019

    As usual I benefited from today's lesson Thank you Professor I am very grateful to you

  • Ramiro Gutiérrez

    May 7, 2019

    24 people are crazy ….how can someone ever disliked a good lesson like this.

  • Vimal Chopra

    May 7, 2019

    I am from india and i just want to say you are excellent teacher love you mam

  • bruno pires

    May 7, 2019

    I'm from Brazil. Thank you so much. Its important to me and my family.

  • Daniel Anguita Manchón

    May 9, 2019

    One of the best teacher I've ever met. His enunciation is very good!. Thank you Gill!

  • sylvie Renvoizé

    May 9, 2019

    What a good teacher !!!!👍

  • Ivanilda Gomes

    May 10, 2019

    Excellent teacher! Thank you, dear Gill!

  • haydar ercan

    May 10, 2019

    Help me

  • haydar ercan

    May 10, 2019

    Who WANna speak english that can help me

  • philipzhao zhao

    May 12, 2019

    Down your alley and up your alley means the same thing ?!

  • dalia rishon

    May 12, 2019

    Men At Work – Down Under (Video)

  • Nancy Rodriguez Pardo

    May 14, 2019

    Thanks for the lesson. What a beautiful accent you have!

  • Natalimega2017 Mega Mega

    May 19, 2019

    My adorably and lovely teacher😍😘😘😘😘

  • Yogi Levent

    May 21, 2019

    I love  Teacher Jill very much; because she teaches very well, and she has so lovely, so wise personality.

  • BebaChannel

    May 23, 2019

    Thanks for your help

  • Eduardo Toledo

    May 28, 2019

    Thank you so much! 🇲🇽

  • Charcharodon carcharias

    May 30, 2019

    A few days ago I watched a documentary about “dangerous” dog breeds and I heard the sentence “to put the dog down” multiple times. What does that exactly mean? To put it to sleep(kill it)?

  • Natalia Apaza

    June 7, 2019

    i ADORE Mrs Gill How you teach to your English students!! You are Amazing English TEACH Thank You very Much!!

  • Mohammad Rahman

    June 9, 2019

    I like your lessons very much. Easy✅

  • 无名氏

    June 14, 2019

    Thank you so much

  • Imron Al ghazali

    June 21, 2019

    Hallo gill..how are you…i wanna be your student…i love you

  • Durga Prasad

    June 25, 2019

    You're down to earth, great lesson.

  • Rajenran V

    June 26, 2019

    Good Eve Ma'am. Absolutely enriching. Clarity in expression, right in diction, accuracy in facts and friendly resonance in the voice are truly admirable. Gill, the definition of a good teacher. May God lead Gill Ma'am always in all ways. Most rewarding. Heartily thanking the teacher. Great.

  • Hanan Mohammed

    July 2, 2019

    I got 8 out of 10 wow what a great explanation I’m from Iraq 🇮🇶

  • Lokuras Arg

    July 9, 2019

    Ohh Gil, you are so beautiful!! 🙂 I love yours classes. All of them are wonderfull to me. I´m from Argentina 🙂 Tanks a lot!

  • hector zela

    July 28, 2019

    Thanks a lot madam

  • Yuri Santiago

    July 31, 2019

    Such a smart teacher!!! Didatics!!

  • adel Mohammed

    August 2, 2019

    Thank very much

  • Paul mathari

    August 9, 2019

    Your teaching way is best ma'm🌹💐🥀 from 🇮🇳

  • Audatia Z.

    August 24, 2019

    I come from the land down under,
    Where women glow and men plunder!

  • Jon

    August 26, 2019

    She's well trendy! Dresses better than me ahahah

  • English for children, Art School Tatiana Kurushina

    September 1, 2019

    Oh my God! How many DOWNS can be in a life! Is this number of downs final???
    WIth sincere appreciation for the lesson i wish everyone not to have this small word frequently in everyday use)))

  • Jose Luis Zaballos

    September 3, 2019

    Great!👏👏👏 Excelente profesora thanks from Spain!

  • Diana Qerimi

    September 4, 2019

    Thank you for your lovely lessons! Your lessons are always excellent and your way of explaining is so clear!


    September 6, 2019

    Very adorable techer.

  • Giti Shirasb

    September 9, 2019



    September 17, 2019

    You are the best English teacher I would say

  • Ludmila Turkova

    September 19, 2019

    it takes a good teacher, not necessarily a good scientist😄

  • José Pereira da Silva

    September 20, 2019


  • Eugenio Villaverde

    October 6, 2019


  • Thriller_fan1200

    October 8, 2019

    You are an awesome teacher. I always enjoyed taking esl when I was in high school. Now I am 30 years old and that has been almost eleven years ago. I understand english quite well. And I think I can always practice english lessons online for free. You are a blessing in disguise.

  • Periklis Gewrgiou

    October 8, 2019

    thank you so much


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