Which is correct:
"I fall asleep" or "I fell asleep"?

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I fall asleep

This phrase is correct.

This phase is used to describe the action of changing from the state of being awake to being asleep in a habitual or recurring way.

On rare occasions this form might be used in a narrative being told in the present tense.


Some examples from our editors:

  • Each night I fall asleep listening to music.
  • Do you fall asleep easily? Yes, I fall asleep easily.
  • He always falls asleep on the couch listening to the news.
  • A cool breeze drifts gently across my body and I fall asleep as the sun begins to set.

Some alternatives from our editors:

  • Go to sleep
  • Drift off to sleep
  • Nod off
  • Fall into slumber

I fell asleep

This phrase is correct.

This phrase is used to indicate the action of changing from being awake to being asleep at some point in the past.


Some examples from our editors:

  • I'm sorry I didn't call you back last night; I fell asleep on the couch.
  • After our long hike yesterday, we fell asleep very quickly.
  • She fell asleep in class this morning because she stayed up too late last night.
  • After the children fell asleep, their parents ate big bowls of ice cream and watched a scary movie.

Some alternatives from our editors:

  • Dozed off
  • Went to sleep
  • Drifted off to sleep
  • Fell into slumber

Use I fell asleep to talk about an event in the past.

Use I fall asleep to talk about ongoing events, or for something happening in the present (right now).

Gianni profile picture

Explained by Gianni
Editor at TextRanch

Last updated: June 27, 2018

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