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What’s the Past Tense of Fall? Fell or Fallen?

Fall is in the present tense. Fell is the simple past, and fallen is the past participle.

Which tense of ‘fall‘ finishes the sentence?

What’s the past tense of “fall”?

The verb fall (not the season fall or autumn) is when “someone or something moves quickly downwards onto or towards the ground, by accident or because of a natural force.”

  • Fall is an irregular verb (does not use “ed” in its past tenses).

  • Fell is the simple past tense form; fallen is the past participle form.

Examples of "fell" in the past tense.

Verb tenses of fall

simpleI fallI fellI will fall
continuousI am fallingI was fallingI will be falling
perfectI have fallenI had fallenI will have fallen
perfect continuousI have been fallingI had been fallingI will have been falling
12 verb tenses of ‘fall‘.

When to use fell vs. fallen

Both the past tense and the past perfect tense are verb tenses in English to describe actions or events that occurred in the past. However, they serve slightly different purposes and are used in different contexts. Compare the following:

He fell and hurt his leg. (simple past)

The handle had fallen off the drawer and onto the floor. (past perfect)

The first sentence in the past tense describes the action or event that happened in the past and is now completed. The second sentence uses the past perfect tense and shows that one past action or event happened before another past action or event. We use the past perfect tense to emphasize the sequence of events in the past.

To form the past perfect tense, use the past participle form of the verb along with the auxiliary verb, had. For example, ‘She had fallen while walking down the road.’ To sum this up, the key difference between the past tense and past perfect tense is the timing of the actions or events they describe: the past tense describes actions in the past without emphasizing the sequence of events. The past perfect tense highlights that one past action or event occurred before another, and emphasizes the sequence of events in the past.

“Fall”/ “fell” / “fallen”, used in sentences

Examplesfall, used in sentence examples
Every time I visit the hills, I fall in love with nature.

The house looked like it was about to fall down.

She took a nasty fall off a horse.

Apples fall from a tree when there’s a storm.
Examplesfell/fallen, used in sentences
One of the kids fell into the river.

“The leaf fell on my shoulder”.

A climber fell to his death.

A fallen tree obstructed the road.

I sat her on a fallen log by side of the dirt track.

Practice questions: verb forms of ‘fall’

Select the correct verb form to complete the sentences.Answers:
1. How could anyone ___ asleep that fast?

a. falling
b. fell
c. falls
d. fall
2. He ___ flat on his face.

a. falling
b. fell
c. falls
d. fall
3. Rain ___ heavily from the sky during a thunderstorm.

a. falling
b. fell
c. falls
d. fall
4. The sound of rain ___ is calming for many people.

a. falling
b. fell
c. falls
d. fall
5. I guess I must ___ asleep.

a. fell
b. have fallen
c. had fallen
d. fall
6. The handle ___ off the drawer.

a. have fallen
b. has fallen
c. falling
d. falls


  1. d
  2. b
  3. c
  4. a
  5. b
  6. b

Synonyms of fall

  • drop
  • descend
  • plummet
  • tumble
  • collapse
  • crumble
  • topple
  • slip
  • slide
  • dip
  • decline
  • deteriorate
  • sink
  • sag
  • decrease

Origin of the word fall

From etymology online on fall (v.):

Old English feallan (class VII strong verb; past tense feoll, past participle feallen) “to drop from a height; fail, decay, die,” from Proto-Germanic *fallanan.

Learn more about verbs


  1. “Fall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Mar. 2023.
  2. Harper Douglas, “Etymology of fall,” Online Etymology Dictionary, accessed March 11, 2023,

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