give out/give off heat

GandalfMB

Senior Member
Bulgarian - Yellow Beach
Hello,
I came across this sentence: "The radiator gave off a lot of heat." Everything's fantastic, but wouldn't "give out" make more sense? The heat is usually produced inside the body of the radiator, not on its surface. I think that give out would be more correct in this context, but I am not saying the other one is not. Also when things give out/off gases, light, etc. I think that it very much depends on where the gas, light or heat is produced. Please correct me if I am wrong.
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    I would say "give off heat." I can't imagine a situation where I would use "give out," although perhaps someone else will come up with one.
     

    GandalfMB

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian - Yellow Beach
    I would say "give off heat." I can't imagine a situation where I would use "give out," although perhaps someone else will come up with one.
    Okay, my bad :(. What about gases and light? I would use "give off" for gases, but which one sounds better in collocation with light? I am not going to ask why "give off" sounds better in the context of "heat". That's how it is.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I, too, would say "The radiator gave off a lot of heat." However, there are certainly times when I'd be perfectly happy with "gave out".
    The fire gave out heat, light, and the smells of wood-smoke and roasting chestnuts.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "Give off" is a set phrase. Logic has nothing to do with it. It probably began when heat came from fires, for which "give off" is logical. In any case, we are not free to change it.
     

    GandalfMB

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian - Yellow Beach
    "Give off" is a set phrase. Logic has nothing to do with it. It probably began when heat came from fires, for which "give off" is logical. In any case, we are not free to change it.
    Okay, I am sorry. I didn't want to change anything, I just expressed my opinion and I was wrong.

    :white flag:
     

    GandalfMB

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian - Yellow Beach
    I, too, would say "The radiator gave off a lot of heat." However, there are certainly times when I'd be perfectly happy with "gave out".
    The fire gave out heat, light, and the smells of wood-smoke and roasting chestnuts.
    Which one would you prefer, Andy? The lighting fixture gives out/off a lot light. I have a preference for "off", but I don't really know why :(.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Gandalf, you weren't wrong. Both "give out" and "give off" can mean "to emit". Your only mistake was to think that "gave out" was more likely to be appropriate in your sentence about a radiator, but there's three replies saying "gave off" is usual. Not all writers agree - here's an example I found in the British National Corpus.
    He exuded masculinity in the way that a flame gave out heat.
    I don't object to that. (Although I doubt the book is my sort of a read - The waters of Eden. Neil, Joanna. Richmond, Surrey: Mills & Boon, 1993,)

    Edit. Light fittings? I could use either. Let's see: "A well-cared-for pressure lantern gives out a bright light." "An arc light gives off an intense, white light." I have no logical reason for it that I can think of, but those are my preferences for those sentences.
     
    Last edited:

    GandalfMB

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian - Yellow Beach
    Gandalf, you weren't wrong. Both "give out" and "give off" can mean "to emit". Your only mistake was to think that "gave out" was more likely to be appropriate in your sentence about a radiator, but there's three replies saying "gave off" is usual. Not all writers agree - here's an example I found in the British National Corpus. I don't object to that. (Although I doubt the book is my sort of a read - The waters of Eden. Neil, Joanna. Richmond, Surrey: Mills & Boon, 1993,)

    Edit. Light fittings? I could use either. Let's see: "A well-cared-for pressure lantern gives out a bright light." "An arc light gives off an intense, white light." I have no logical reason for it that I can think of, but those are my preferences for those sentences.

    Fine. I wish I had never suggested it. I am sorry. The arc light gives off light, whereas the lantern gives out light. Hmm...Maybe because of the shape of the lantern? I am trying to take it all in.
     
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