Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Of and Off

english wordsOf vs. Off

In modern English, both these words, namely ‘of’ and ‘off’, are used quite frequently. Furthermore, they are used so frequently that people often confuse them in many occasions. For example in this sentence: ‘He took off with the money.” In some instances one will see people writing it as: ‘He took of with the money’. There are other confusions like these, and in this article we will try to lay out the differences between the two words.

The word ‘of’ has several functions in a sentence. One of which is its function as a preposition. The prepositional function is more often in use. The preposition, as a type of word, has several functions in a sentence. However, the main function of the preposition is usually to denote various relations that are described in the sentence.

As a function of a preposition, the word ‘of’ does just that. For instance, ‘of’ is used to indicate a point of reckoning: “North of the lake.’ It is also commonly used to point out the material, parts, or elements of something: ‘Throne of gold,’ or ‘cup of water.’ One of the frequent uses of this verb as a preposition, is its use in indicating a possessive relation: ‘King of England.’ There are other meanings and uses of this word when it is used as a preposition, but we will not dig deeper, as there are far too many.

On the contrary, ‘off’ is also a very common word. It has quite a few functions in the English language, but the most common of which are the functions of an adverb and a preposition. The more familiar of the two, is the adverbial function. It is also used to describe a state of discontinuance, or suspension: “Turn off the lights.’

The prepositional function of ‘off’ is also a commonality. Here, it can be used as a word to indicate the physical separation or distance from a position of rest, attachment, or union: ‘Take it off the table’, or ‘a shop just off the main street.’

It should also be noticed that both these words have a common etymology, that is, both terms are derived from the same word. Alongside the similarities in pronunciation, this is probably one of the main reasons why people confuse the two.

So to summarize, the two words differ in the following areas:

1. ‘Of’ is mostly used as a preposition, and therefore, should be used when a preposition is needed. ‘Off’ is usually used as an adverb, and should be used in cases where an adverb is needed.
2. ‘Of’ is more often used in sentences, while ‘off’ is used less frequently.
3. ‘Off’ is used in conjunction with verbs, which is not the case with ‘of’.


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4 Comments

  1. There’s people who really don’t know the difference between of and off and their native language is English. x.x If you really don’t know the differences between those for the very least then you’re truly stupid.

  2. WOW Nikki,
    Mad much? Most people don’t know because:
    #1. It’s confusing
    #2. Not everyone is an English major.

    Saying what you said above… just makes you seem ignorant and truly makes you a bigot. Instead of helping people, you simply put them down.
    “If you really don’t know the differences between those for the very least then you’re truly stupid.”

    …just makes you seem ignorant and truly makes you a bigot. Instead of helping people, you simply put them down.

    GREAT JOB! (sarcastically)

  3. I agree with mike
    Don’t be such a jerk niki

  4. I really can’t believe in 21st century we have one arrogant-ignorant like Nikki.
    Hey Nikki, do you know the meaning of your name???
    Fully agree with Mike.

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