Preposition: based <on/ off of>

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Advocatus Diaboli, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. Hello everyone,

    I was writing one day at work and realized that I use "based on" and "based off of" interchangeably. Which do you prefer and do you use them interchangeably too?

    Advocatus Diaboli
  2. MichaelW Senior Member

    English (British)
    "Off of" in this case is slang and gives the impression of illiteracy. "Based on" is fine.
  3. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    What is it with this word? I agree with MichaelW.

    I also prefer "based in" to "based out of" which also seems to be gaining currency. :(
  4. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    It's "based on" for me, too....
  5. Welshie

    Welshie Senior Member

    England, English
    "off of" is frowned upon, at least by my mother! For example, we should not say "I got it off of him" but rather "I got it from him". I would go with "based on", no argument.
  6. mplsray Senior Member

    There are two questions involved in this matter. One is the legitimacy of the preposition off of in general, which is discussed in the usage note in this entry in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: of

    The other question is the legitimacy of off of in some uses rather than others. Even speakers who use it may avoid it in some contexts. I use it, but would not say, for example, "I borrowed it off of him." That distinction is not mentioned in the M.-W. entry, but can be found in other online sources.

    The objection to based off of appears to be the illogicality of it: A base is something upon which something is built, and so the term on is appropriate. This argument fails, however, because based off of is just as evidently an idiom as is off of itself, and idioms cannot be dismissed as nonstandard based upon logical arguments. Rather, their standardness depends entirely upon usage. That said, I don't have enough evidence to say whether based off of is used enough by standard speakers to be considered standard, unlike, say could care less which I consider to be fully standard in informal American English.
  7. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
  8. mplsray Senior Member

    I don't remember having heard based off of before this thread either. Its use in edited writing, however, can be seen by doing a search of Google Books, and of course its use in writing, edited or not, can be demonstrated by searching the Internet, for example, with searches comparing "based on the book" and "based off of the book".
  9. Bookmom

    Bookmom Senior Member

    It may seem off base to judge the validity of the usage of a particular phrase based on a simple survey of self-selecting respondents, however, based on the consistency of the respondents' reactions, it seem far more off base to reject their input as baseless hearsay. ;)
  10. Adam Cruge Banned

    India & Bengali
    So what is the meaning of "based in", "based out of" , and "based off of" ?
    Is there any difference in these three expressions ?
    Or do they simply mean "based on" ?
  11. Thank you everyone for confirming my suspicions regarding the use of "based on" versus "based off of". Based off of the responses, this sentence is the last time I use that phrase as I too prefer "based on".

    Advocatus Diaboli
  12. MichaelW Senior Member

    English (British)
    (See #10) It depends on the context, and what is meant by the word "based".

    Based on the latest statistics, the economy is recovering ~ the conclusion is "based on" the statistics as if the statistics were the base or foundation of the conclusion.

    The 7th Fleet is based in Yokosuka ~ the Fleet has a main naval base which is in Yokosuka.

    The 7th Fleet is based out of Yokosuka ~ same as above, but also used because the Fleet operates all over the Pacific, running operations out of (or "from", but "out of" is a common way of putting it) Yokosuka.

    And "based off of" should not be used.
  13. Adam Cruge Banned

    India & Bengali
    Thank you MichaelW....
  14. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Michael, Here we part ways :(

    "Based out of..." has gained currency in usage but is a simple error, IMHO, mismatching of the two phrases you cite "based in..." and "operating from... (or out of)..." The base is clearly in Yokosuka. And you'd like me to understand "out of" to mean the same?

    This is like the mismatching of the two phrases "Being a factor in..." and "Playing a role in..." it is now not uncommon to hear "Playing a factor in..." Most odd!
  15. MichaelW Senior Member

    English (British)
    Based "out of" is I think an American usage, for instance Thomas Pynchon uses this and variants with "out of" often in his novels, and I have seen it elsewhere. Maybe it is just US military slang (Pynchon was in the navy for a while). "Working out of X Y or Z city" is also used quite a lot in business-speak.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2009
  16. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I do think it's as "bad" as "off of". I'm OK with "working out of..." Someone can be "based in Z city and go out to work in the region around it" Odd? Not so much!
  17. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    A valiant effort, Michael, but I fear that the distinction is too fine to be useful. I will stick with based in.

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