PDA

View Full Version : Climbed



Elwyn
03-10-2006, 11:00 PM
Sally climbed down from her horse.



Is the above statement grammatically correct? According to the dictionary, climbed means to ascend; not descend. Ugh!

Thanks.

CaroGirl
03-10-2006, 11:11 PM
When in doubt, say it another way:


She clambered down
She dismounted
She threw her leg over the horse’s rump and alit on the ground in front of me.
People do say “climbing down” and I think it conveys the idea as well as any other word. He climbed down the mountain. There’s certainly no doubt about what he did.

reph
03-11-2006, 07:10 AM
Theodore Bernstein's book The Careful Writer has an entry for "climb down":

Climb down would seem to be half-contradictory, but it is accepted in good literary usage. The extremists who gainsay this will ultimately have to alight from their high horse. Climb down fills a need by suggesting more active effort than the essentially passive descend or come down. If climb down is approved, it might seem to follow that climb up must also be approved. But here we have tautology aggravated by wastefulness. The writer who values terseness will usually omit the up.

veinglory
03-11-2006, 07:13 AM
Which begs the question... was it a 'high' enough horse to require the effort implied ;)

reph
03-11-2006, 08:19 AM
Which begs the question...
No questions were begged in the making of Mr. Bernstein's analysis.

Strongbadia
03-17-2006, 09:54 AM
If one can climb up then one can climb left, climb right, and climb down. The verb "climb" may mean to ascend, but that is not really relevant. The reason is because it is not how people use language. (And how people use language has far more of an impact than what a dictionary says.)

"Climb" and "climb up" seem to be two different verbs to me. One, I can climb a ladder and I can climb up a ladder.

I can climb a real ladder, the coroporate ladder, or the social ladder!
This is a similar phenomenon as "butter."

"I can purchase butter" - the noun

I can "butter my toast" - verb

and I can "butter you up" - verb

The last instance is a phrasal or particle verb. It is my contention that climb down is a particle verb that has been "invented" because we do not have a verb that means "climb down" that is in common usage. Sure, there is probably a Latinate verb out there that means "climb down" but they do not lack the power of our Germanic roots.

Always avoid Latinate verbs - they weaken your writing.

Jamesaritchie
03-17-2006, 10:02 PM
Sally climbed down from her horse.



Is the above statement grammatically correct? According to the dictionary, climbed means to ascend; not descend. Ugh!

Thanks.

grammatically, I think it's fine. Stylistically, I think it suffers.

alleycat
03-17-2006, 10:31 PM
"Climb down" is in my handy, dandy dictionary as meaning "to descend".