Similarly, descendre d'un escalator or descendre un escalator?
Can we say go up/go down 1 floor in French:
Monter/descendre un étage
If one were to write "descendre d'un escalator" this would mean to get down off an escalator. Why? Because the verb is being used intransitively (no direct object)
On the other hand to write "descendre un escalator" would mean to take down the escalator in the sense of (potentially) dismantling it -- in this case, there is no preposition and the verb is being used transitively (direct object).
The same explanation will apply to monter with following preposition "to ascend or go up or get into something" (intransitive) or without preposition to "lift or take something up" (transitive). If you revisit the lesson I suspect you will understand more clearly.
It is my hope that this will help you.
Surely "descendre un escalator" also (and more normally) means "to go down an escalator"?
"Descendre d'un escalator" could only refer to the moment when you step off it.
What is an escalator? Answer: a moving staircase.
So one gets on at one point and gets off at another, the escalator doing the movement.
Although it is possible to physically walk up or down to hurry the process on; that is not the point and potentially dangerous.
"Going down an escalator" does not imply walking down, and neither does "descendre un escalator".
It doesn't matter what is logical, only what people actually say. If you are in doubt, try googling "descendre un escalator" and "descendre d'un escalator" and see how often they occur, and what they refer to.
We are discussing a forum of a French site the purpose of which is to educate students of French.
The grammar is important in this regard and suggesting that students of French use Google for their studies is just plain wrong period.
Déscendre l'escalateur -- riding the escalator downDéscendre de l'escalateur -- stepping off the escalator (e.g., at the bottom)
We've had this very same discussion with ladders. Same difference.
Déscendre les livres dans la cave. -- To take the books down to the basement.
The grammatical ambiguity is resolved simply by knowing that you can't take an escalator and carry it down to the basement.
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