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  1. #1
    JACEK1 is offline Member
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    Default cut something off something else versus cut something away from something else

    Hello everybody!

    Does "cut something off something else" mean the same as "cut something away from something else".

    For instance, there is a pipe protruding over the surface and the building supervisor orders the pipe to be cut off the surface or he orders it to be cut away from the surface.

    In my opinion, these two phrases mean the same, but I would like to know what you think about it.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: cut something off something else versus cut something away from something else

    Quote Originally Posted by JACEK1 View Post
    Hello everybody!

    Does "cut something off something else" mean the same as "cut something away from something else".

    For instance, there is a pipe protruding over the surface and the building supervisor orders the pipe to be cut off the surface or he orders it to be cut away from the surface.

    In my opinion, these two phrases mean the same, but I would like to know what you think about it.

    Thank you.
    In the example/context you used, I would go with "off" not "away", but use of "away" would be understood.

  3. #3
    JACEK1 is offline Member
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    Default Re: cut something off something else versus cut something away from something else

    Some time ago I heard from a native speaker of English that it is wrong to use "cut off from" when this phrase means "remove something from something else". As I see, there are many opinions. Does "cut something away from something else" exist at all?

  4. #4
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    probus is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: cut something off something else versus cut something away from something else

    Yes, it exists. In the days of sail, for instance, ships occasionally suffered catastrophes such as being dismasted. In stormy seas it was extremely dangerous to have the mast and various spars entangled with rigging attached to the ship. In order for the damaged ship to have any hope of survival it was necessary that this mess be cut away. Used in this sense, cut away means to separate one thing from another.

  5. #5
    JACEK1 is offline Member
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    Default Re: cut something off something else versus cut something away from something else

    Is it right to use "cut something away from something else" in everyday (English) conversation to mean "separate one thing from another"?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: cut something off something else versus cut something away from something else

    It tends to be used concretely rather than figuratively. If you go here

    Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA)

    and type in "cut away" then click on the number that appears, you will find numerous examples of its current usage.

  7. #7
    JACEK1 is offline Member
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    Default Re: cut something off something else versus cut something away from something else

    What does "concretely mean? Does "cut something off something else" have anything to do "cut something away from something else" in literal meaning?
    Last edited by JACEK1; 23-Mar-2013 at 15:41.

  8. #8
    probus's Avatar
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    Default Re: cut something off something else versus cut something away from something else

    I doubt that anybody will be able to give you a short simple answer. Broadly speaking cut off and cut away are synonyms. If you want to get a feeling for the connotative differences, follow my link to the corpus of AmE. If you prefer to learn British English instead you can resort to the [bnc] British National Corpus

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