Wednesday, April 18, 2012

(to) step down

In today's news, we had two multi-word verbs that are different only in their choice of the preposition practically side by side. We had (to) step aside and (to) step down.  

We will begin with (to) step down. Notice sometimes the preposition "from" is used and at other times the preposition "as" is used. Can you see the differences between the sentences in each case?

Steve Jobs steps down from Apple


Summitt steps down as Tennessee's women's basketball coach


James Murdoch to step down as BSkyB chairman

In case case, (to) step down means to resign from a high position. This could be in government, in business, etc.

Now do a search for "Nixon steps down". Everything comes up "Nixon resigns". This is because Nixon stepping down was such a dramatic an historic piece of news that only the singular word "resigns" would have the type of impact that the event conveyed. 

So what is your theory about when to use "as" and when to use "from"?

Use "from" when you are going to immediately afterward name the company or event that the person resigned from.  

Florida judge steps down from George Zimmerman trial

Use "as" when you name their position: chairman, president, etc.

Mubarak steps down as President of Egypt, hands power to military

It's fun to find multi-word verbs in the news because these add so much color to what we read!


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