separable phrasal verb: shoot down


Today’s expression is “shoot down”, and it has two meanings.

1. to make an airplane fall by shooting it. For example:

My grandfather was in World War Two as a pilot. The Germans shot his plane down during the war, but he survived.

My grandfather’s plane was shot down by the Germans in World War Two. (passive voice)

2. to reject an idea or a person. For example:

We presented our proposal to the boss, but he shot it down. Now we have to think of  a new idea.

Our proposal was shot down by the boss. (passive voice)

I have a great idea for improving business, but it will cost a little bit of money to implement. I hope the boss doesn’t shoot it down.

I suggested to my friends that we see a horror movie, but everyone shot it down.

I asked Erika for a date, but she shot me down.

My sister told Jerry that she wanted to be his girlfriend, but he shot her down. She’s really upset right now.

The first meaning “shoot down” is almost always used in war situations. We don’t use it when talking about birds.

When it comes to the second meaning, when we are talking about rejecting a person, it’s always used for dating situations, not with friendships.


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