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I tried to figure out the difference between these two words, and here are some notes on what I found out. Please share if there is anything else I'm not catching here :)
摔 [shuāi] is used for two kinds of falling:
A person falling over by accident:
lǎo rén shuāi dǎo le.
Someone getting angry and throwing things:
tā bă bēi zi shuāi zài dì shang.
tā yī shēng qì bă diàn shì jī dōu shuāi le.
掉 [diào] is used for things falling down on the floor:
gāng bĭ diào zài le dì shang.
Also used for a plane going down:
fēi jī diào xià lái le.
(photo credit gracies-stock)
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