If you’ve ever felt like you’ve lost track of something or someone amidst the chaos, then you might be familiar with the phrases fall through the cracks and slip through the cracks. While they sound similar, and they indeed are, there are subtle differences to be found, which I’ll quickly go over right here.
Fall Through the Cracks vs. Slip Through the Cracks
Both fall through the cracks and slip through the cracks are idiomatic expressions we use to describe a situation or a person that’s overlooked, forgotten or neglected somehow, usually in a system or process where they should have been noticed or dealt with.
The only subtle difference is that falling through the cracks implies a more sudden, abrupt or dramatic oversight, and slipping through the cracks implies a more gradual, subtle or sneakier overlook. But really, the two phrases are largely interchangeable.
Fell Through the Cracks Meaning Explained
When something or someone falls through the cracks, they’ve been overlooked or neglected, usually in a system or process that was supposed to catch them. It’s like when a student who struggles academically might fall through the cracks in a school system that isn’t equipped to provide adequate support.
I saw that first-hand with my younger brother. He would test extremely high but couldn’t focus in class due to his undiagnosed ADHD, so he’d barely pass in-class assignments and other tasks.
Meaning of Slipped Through the Cracks
When something or someone slips through the cracks, it describes a subtle or gradual overlook or neglect. I recently had a massive book release event where I had to pack over 300 bookish boxes with a signed copy of my book and a bunch of merchandise. Because it was so detailed and chaotic, and it was just me fulfilling these boxes, I forgot to include a bookmark in each one. The thought just slipped through the cracks.
Origin and Etymology of Falling Through the Cracks
These idioms likely originated from the image of something small falling or slipping through a crack in a floor or a similar surface, escaping notice or retrieval. They have been used in English since at least the mid-20th century.
Synonyms for Fall Through the Cracks
- Lost in the shuffle
Fall Through the Cracks Examples in a Sentence
- Despite her talent, she fell through the cracks because the agency was focusing on more established artists.
- The lack of communication made the project fall through the cracks.
- His request fell through the cracks due to the company’s major restructuring.
- In a big public school, it’s easy for students with special needs to fall through the cracks.
- I apologize for the delay; your email must have fallen through the cracks.
- They fell through the cracks of the healthcare system and couldn’t get the treatment they needed.
Slip Through the Cracks Examples in a Sentence
- He didn’t have a criminal record because his minor offenses always seemed to slip through the cracks.
- Due to the high volume of applicants, some highly qualified candidates might slip through the cracks.
- Some important details slipped through the cracks during the planning stage.
- Because of the oversight, the critical bug slipped through the cracks and made it to the live website.
- Some safety measures slipped through the cracks during the rapid production process.
- Her performance slipped through the cracks due to the manager’s lack of attention to detail.
Preventing the Plunge
Whether you’re using fall through the cracks or slip through the cracks, you’re talking about something or someone being overlooked, usually from a flaw in a system or process. I hope my quick guide helped you understand that!