Interested in Language
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.
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?
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.
Is it right to use "cut something away from something else" in everyday (English) conversation to mean "separate one thing from another"?
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.
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 16:41.
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