Fell a Tree

ne look at the title, and you may say: “Hey, that’s incorrect!”

Yesterday, a friend of mine saw an advertisement that read: “A termite can fell a tree“, and criticised that it’s grammatically wrong to say “can fell“. She said that it should be “can fall“. I disagreed with her. Here’s the reason:

fell” can be the past tense form of the verb “fall.

However, “fell” is also a verb on its own which means:

  • to cut down
  • to knock down

Therefore, it is perfectly correct to say:

  1. The lumberjacks fell hundreds of trees each day.
  2. The boxer was felled in just two rounds.

Perhaps we could say:

The man was felled (figuratively speaking, that is) by the suggestive words uttered by his girlfriend.