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  1. #1
    justinwschang is offline Member
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    Default Is this off proper English?

    1. He stepped off of the pavement (off + of).
    2. Leave off from doing that (off + from).
    3. He took the book off me (off = from).
    4. From Jhumpa Lahiri's "Interpreter of Maladies":
    "Their mother's idea," he explained one day, producing from his wallet a black-and-white picture of seven girls at a picnic, their braids tied with ribbons, sitting cross-legged in a row, eating chicken curry off of banana leaves.

    Are the above sentences/phrases off of proper English?

  2. #2
    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Is this off proper English?

    Quote Originally Posted by justinwschang View Post
    1. He stepped off of the pavement (off + of).
    2. Leave off from doing that (off + from).
    3. He took the book off me (off = from).
    4. From Jhumpa Lahiri's "Interpreter of Maladies":
    "Their mother's idea," he explained one day, producing from his wallet a black-and-white picture of seven girls at a picnic, their braids tied with ribbons, sitting cross-legged in a row, eating chicken curry off of banana leaves.

    Are the above sentences/phrases off of proper English?
    Sentence 1 is correct but usually the "of" would not be used.

    Sentence 2 is not correct We would usually say "Stop doing that." or "Quit doing that".

    Sentence 3 sounds funny if it was true. It could mean that a book fell on me and it was so big that I needed assistance to have it removed. Of course, it could also mean that he took the book away from me. You would understand the true meaning from context.

    Sentence 4 is correct

  3. #3
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Wink Re: Is this off proper English?

    Quote Originally Posted by justinwschang View Post
    1. He stepped off of the pavement (off + of).
    —Usage note The phrasal preposition off of is old in English, going back to the 16th century. Although usage guides reject it as redundant, recommending off without of, the phrase is widespread in speech, including that of the educated: Let's watch as the presidential candidates come off of the rostrum and down into the audience. Off of is rare in edited writing except to give the flavor of speech.

    off - Definitions from Dictionary.com

  4. #4
    justinwschang is offline Member
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    Default Re: Is this off proper English?

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    —Usage note The phrasal preposition off of is old in English, going back to the 16th century. Although usage guides reject it as redundant, recommending off without of, the phrase is widespread in speech, including that of the educated: Let's watch as the presidential candidates come off of the rostrum and down into the audience. Off of is rare in edited writing except to give the flavor of speech.

    off - Definitions from Dictionary.com
    Thank you, Naamplao and engee30.

    (A) Why do purists forbid (1), (2) and (3), and (accordingly) (4) also?

    (B) What about:
    The button came off (off = adverb)
    The car drove off (off = adverb)
    Come off of the rostrum ("come off" = phrasal verb??)
    Eat (curry chicken) off of banana leaves ("eat off" = ???)

  5. #5
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Is this off proper English?

    It is often regarded as a sign that the person using it is not fully literate. It is not really necessary to have both off and another proposition together, despite emgee's usage note. Also, it sounds unpleasant when spoken.

  6. #6
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Is this off proper English?

    M-W:

    Main Entry: off of
    Function: preposition

    usage The of is often criticized as superfluous, a comment that is irrelevant because off of is an idiom. It is much more common in speech than in edited writing and is more common in American English than in British.

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