I'm Gill at www.engvid.com, and today's lesson is on the use of the word "down".
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.
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".
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.
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.
Maybe the feathers themselves.
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
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".
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".
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.
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 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.
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.
So, the "track" is like the pathway that you're following to find that person.
And then: "to calm down".
If someone is very upset, and angry, and shouting - people might say: "Please, just 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
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.
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
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.
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".
"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, 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 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.
Everybody gets this sometimes; they feel a bit downcast, downhearted when things haven't
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-...
A politician, for example, but then things go wrong, they lose their position.
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".
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.
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.
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".
By going down under, they're emigrating down under.
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 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
Okay, so let's look at how the word "down" can be used as part of a sentence to mean
So, first of all: "I'm feeling down."
You can probably guess.
If you're feeling down, you're feeling sad, a bit depressed.
Not feeling great; I'm feeling down.
That's a bit sad.
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".
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.
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!
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!
And then if you have a dog, dogs are often called "Rover" or that's the kind of clich�
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!" meaning: "Get down.
Stop jumping up".
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.
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.
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.
And then this one, can you guess what this means?
"We're down to our last slice of bread!"
It means: "We only have one slice of bread left; we have no more bread", so" "We're down
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.
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
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.
And then: "The computer is down at the moment."
You can probably guess - the computer is not working.
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."
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.
Everything about that job is right and perfect for you, or for me.
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.
Bye for now.