My hands were on and off the keyboard

buoo

Senior Member
Korean
Hi

I've just finished chatting with my friend online. During conversation, I switched the gadgets over back and forth, between laptop and mobile phone. Within this situation, can you say "You were on and off the keyboard."? (keyboard indicates the laptop's keyboard.)

I've seen 'on and off' used as having temporal meaning, for example, "I was on and off meds for 5 years" but would it be possible to use it as having spatial meaning?
Well, I think I should modify the sentence a little bit to make it more plausible to my understanding.

"My hands were on and off the keyboard."

So do you think the sentence is acceptable?

Thanks.
 
  • perpend

    Banned
    American English
    I would consider your sentence acceptable. It makes sense, but it's not the most idiomatic.

    I might say: My hands were going back and forth between the keyboard and the phone.
     

    buoo

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I would consider your sentence acceptable. It makes sense, but it's not the most idiomatic.

    I might say: My hands were going back and forth between the keyboard and the phone.
    I wish I could phrase it as you did.:rolleyes: Thank you, perpend!

    Edit. Ah, for the sake of the original question, can you think of an example in which 'on and off' is used with reference to place?
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    buoo, Again, your phrase was fine: "on and off keyboard"

    particularly in a gaming context.

    As to your question (place): I was on and off the island for quite a while. :)
     

    buoo

    Senior Member
    Korean
    buoo, Again, your phrase was fine: "on and off keyboard"

    particularly in a gaming context.

    As to your question (place): I was on and off the island for quite a while. :)
    Oh it's that simple. Okay, I'm happy with this now. Thanks again:)
     
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