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Posted by Smokey Stover on December 10, 2004

In Reply to: Off/from posted by Lotg on December 07, 2004

: : : : I finally got back to all the responses to my question "is 'off of' more correct than 'off from'?" I must say, no one said that it was definatively. I am from Michigan - to that person who was from the backwoods of the United States. To the person who said my example was gobbeldegook (forgive the spelling), how about "I am eating off of the plate" instead of "I am eating off from the plate"? I still think "off of" is the correct form. I'd appreciate anyone telling me I'm right or wrong and where you got the information. Thanks for all your helpful notes!

: : : Greetings from a fellow Michigander. I think "he ate 'off' the plate" or "he ate 'from' the plate" but not "off of" or "off from."

: : Have to agree with SR; "off of" ain't right thar--DH

: I agree with SR and Dale. The 'of' and 'from' are both completely superfluous and sound ugly. Although, as SR said, you can simply give the 'off' the flick and say you're eating from the plate.

: In fact, I can't think of any circumstances where 'off of' would be correct. Perhaps there might be some (although I can't bring any to mind right now), where 'off from' might apply.

Two true observations first. Americans, apparently including Michiganders, often use two prepositions together, more often than not where one would do. There are, I'm sure, places where two are appropriate or necessary. The second observation is that modern linguists insist that the language as she is spoken is the language that is. Look at the following sentences. "Go jump off a cliff!" No problem, no double preposition. Now: "What was he doing on the table?" "Well, he jumped off of it, didn't he?" I don't claim that "off of" is, in this instance, correct or proper English, which I take to mean the kind of English that you would like your English teacher, your thesis adviser, or your editor to see. But it's English. Another example: "Get off me, you lout!" If you were in a situation where this would be appropriate, is it not possible that you might say: "Get off of me, you fat pig"? How about: "He had to park some ways off from the building?" Is this bad? You probably wouldn't write it, but would you say it? I think this tendency towards an overabundance of prepositions has its explanation partly in phonetics and partly in semantics. Prepositions are mostly short. Perhaps someone once decided to reinforce the single syllable of the preposition by adding another. It's easy to imagine others taking up the idea. Or I could be all wet. SS