come down with: meaning and explanation

We use the phrasal verb to come down with something to mean to become ill/unwell

We only really use this phrasal verb for small/non-serious illnesses, e.g. a cold or the flu. Don’t use it to talk about something serious.

Instead of specifying the illness (e.g a cold), it is common to just say something – this is because we don’t feel very well, but we don’t know what is causing it. e.g. I feel like I might be coming down with something – I hope it isn’t that cough that Jessica had last week.

Have a go at this dictation exercise to hear this phrasal verb being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: North America

Paris .
I visit Paris but I after the flu.
I was to visit Paris weekend but I had cancel after down with the flu.

…I was going to visit Paris

This is an example of the future in the past.

We use to be going to + verb to talk about a future plan. When we use this structure in the past (e.g. I was going to + verb), it is usually to talk about a plan that we had to change.

e.g We were going to go out for a walk this weekend, but the weather was awful = we had to change our original plan.

Discussion questions

Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • When was the last time you came down with something?
  • Can you think of a time when you or someone you know had to miss an event because they came down with something?

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