of and from

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I have a difficult time knowing when to use of and when to use from in different sentences. I can't find a clear difference. Please help!


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Nov 13, 2002
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Patricia Bolan said:
I have a difficult time knowing when to use of and when to use from in different sentences. I can't find a clear difference. Please help!

When one has this type of problem, a good dictionary is often a good place to start. Look at all the different meanings and uses of both prepositions. Pay particular attention to situations in which their uses are similar and those that are different.

of (ŭv, ŏv; əv when unstressed)

1. Derived or coming from; originating at or from: customs of the South.
2. Caused by; resulting from: a death of tuberculosis.
3. Away from; at a distance from: a mile east of here.
4. So as to be separated or relieved from: robbed of one's dignity; cured
of distemper.
5. From the total or group comprising: give of one's time; two of my
friends; most of the cases.
6. Composed or made from: a dress of silk.
7..Associated with or adhering to: people of your religion.
8. Belonging or connected to: the rungs of a ladder.
9. Possessing; having: a person of honor.
10. On one's part: very nice of you.
11. Containing or carrying: a basket of groceries.
12. Specified as; named or called: a depth of ten feet; the Garden of
13. Centering on; directed toward: a love of horses.
14. Produced by; issuing from: products of the vine.
15. Characterized or identified by: a year of famine.
16. With reference to; about: think highly of her proposals; will speak of
it later.
17. In respect to: slow of speech.
18. Set aside for; taken up by: a day of rest.
19. Before; until: five minutes of two.
20. During or on a specified time: of recent years.
21. By: beloved of the family.
22. Used to indicate an appositive: that idiot of a driver.
23. Archaic. On: “A plague of all cowards, I say” (Shakespeare).

from (frŭm, frŏm; frəm when unstressed)

1. Used to indicate a specified place or time as a starting point: walked home from the station; from six o'clock on. See Usage Note at escape, whence.
2. Used to indicate a specified point as the first of two limits: from grades four to six.
3. Used to indicate a source, cause, agent, or instrument: a note from the teacher; taking a book from the shelf.
4. Used to indicate separation, removal, or exclusion: keep someone from making a mistake; liberation from bondage.
5. Used to indicate differentiation: know right from wrong.
6. Because of: faint from hunger.
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