Preposition: Get <off, off of> me; her .....

  • Moogey

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Both are correct. If some guy came charging down the tackled me down to the ground, I can say either. (Sorry for my lame examples, they humor my small mind :D)

    -M
     

    cirrus

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I disagree. Get off me is correct. Get off of me is something you hear lots for example in the SE of England but to my mind the "of" isn't needed.
     

    Moogey

    Senior Member
    USA English
    cirrus said:
    I disagree. Get off me is correct. Get off of me is something you hear lots for example in the SE of England but to my mind the "of" isn't needed.
    "Get off of me" is heard as often as "Get off me" in America. Must be one of the many AE/BE variations.

    -M
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    Hello,

    I've noticed that very often, in spoken English, the preposition "of" is dropped if it comes after "off".
    The first example that I've got in mind is a Damien Rice's song :
    "... I can't take my eyes off of you"
    He doesn't pronounce the "of", probably because the verse sounds better without it.
    Is dropping the "of" coming after "off" still to be considered a mistake in written English, also if there's no misunderstanding by doing that ?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    You surprise me with this question.
    I would say that including the of is "incorrect".

    I can't take my eyes off you.:tick:

    I can't take my eyes off of you:eek:
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    panjandrum said:
    You surprise me with this question.
    I would say that including the of is "incorrect".

    I can't take my eyes off you.:tick:

    I can't take my eyes off of you:eek:
    Actually I'm checking the use of "to take off" and it's definitely without the "of", but browsing the net I've found few examples of " take hands off of"..
    Is the "off of" always wrong then?
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I don't think so - for example, "Take your hands off of me!" would mean that someone is physically touching you, and you want it to stop immediately.

    "Off of" is seen a lot - usually, it's a combination of two phrases such as an idiomatic phrase like "rip-off" and a prepositional phrase like "of 9-11" for example - above it would be "take my eyes off" and "of you" (now that I think about it, it does sound kind of creepy - as if the person had their eyeballs directly on your skin...)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Paulfromitaly said:
    Actually I'm checking the use of "to take off" and it's definitely without the "of", but browsing the net I've found few examples of " take hands off of"..
    Is the "off of" always wrong then?
    It certainly sounds wrong to me.
    The rip-off of ....
    The take-off of ... (a take-off is an imitation, a mimicry, an impression)
    ... and similar constructions are OK, of course.
    But although you will find many, many examples of the form "Take your hands off of my girl!" this would still be considered wrong in any formal context - or in an exam.

    Ah - sorry - speaking strictly BE.
    It sounds AE to me.
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    french4beth said:
    I don't think so - for example, "Take your hands off of me!" would mean that someone is physically touching you, and you want it to stop immediately.

    "Off of" is seen a lot - usually, it's a combination of two phrases such as an idiomatic phrase like "rip-off" and a prepositional phrase like "of 9-11" for example - above it would be "take my eyes off" and "of you" (now that I think about it, it does sound kind of creepy - as if the person had their eyeballs directly on your skin...)
    So is it the physical contact that makes the difference?
    I take my hands off of you but I take my eyes off you, correct?
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    panjandrum said:
    It certainly sounds wrong to me.
    The rip-off of ....
    The take-off of ... (a take-off is an imitation, a mimicry, an impression)
    ... and similar constructions are OK, of course.
    But although you will find many, many examples of the form "Take your hands off of my girl!" this would still be considered wrong in any formal context - or in an exam.

    Ah - sorry - speaking strictly BE.
    It sounds AE to me.
    Can we say that "Take your hands off of my girl!" is definitely wrong in BE, but acceptable in AE then?
     

    Tabac

    Senior Member
    U. S. - English
    panjandrum said:
    You surprise me with this question.
    I would say that including the of is "incorrect".

    I can't take my eyes off you.:tick:

    I can't take my eyes off of you:eek:
    I agree totally. In fact, I believe we add the incorrect 'of' after many prepositions which can stand on their own. "He ditched the car outside [of] town." "The keys are inside [of] the gold box." We do this because we confuse using the word as a preposition and as a noun. "The outside of town is a lovely spot." "The inside of the box is lined with red flocking." Pet peeve of mine, too.
     
    "Take your hands off of my girl" and "take your hands off my girl" both sound okay to me. The first sounds more literal... like he needs to physically remove his hands right now.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    When I hear this 'of', it is usually pronounced [shwa]. For example, I might say 'Take your hands off o' me', but I would never say 'take your hands off of me'. This leads me to wonder whether this 'of' is not 'of' at all, but a relic of a second syllable in 'offe' - along the lines of 'Ye Olde Shoppe' etc - retained (or inserted) to avoid an awkward consonant cluster. If I am right then forms using 'off of' are hypercorrections of an original two-syllabled 'offe'.

    The OED talks about the disyllabic offe: 'The form offe in early Middle English (at which period the spelling indicated a disyllable) appears to have final -e on the analogy of inne, adverb denoting rest within a place, originally contrasted with inn, adverb denoting motion towards a place.'

    Because of this theory, I think that 'I can't take my eyes off o' you' is a charming form, redolent of centuries gone by, whereas 'I can't take my eyes off of you' is a highly irritating failed attempt to speak standard English. Next time I hear the song I will listen out for which it is!
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    se16teddy said:
    When I hear this 'off', it is usually pronounced [shwa]. For example, I might say 'Take your hands off o' me', but I would never 'take your hands off of me'. This leads me to wonder whether this 'of' is not 'of' at all, but a relic of a second syllable in 'offe' - along the lines of 'Ye Olde Shoppe' etc: 'Take your hands offe me!', inserted to avoid an awkward consonant cluster. I think that 'off of' is a hypercorrect form for a two syllabled 'offe'.
    I like this idea - sounds credible

    and I agree with the rest that "off of me" is NOT standard usage although you certainly do HEAR it said.
     

    Yôn

    Senior Member
    English
    I almost think of is added way more often in spoken English than it's needed. Of course, I don't think there's really anything wrong with it, just that it's extra and not necessary.




    Jon
     

    Tabac

    Senior Member
    U. S. - English
    Yôn said:
    I almost think of is added way more often in spoken English than it's needed. Of course, I don't think there's really anything wrong with it, just that it's extra and not necessary.




    Jon
    Red highlighting is mine.
    I love the word "pleonastic".
     

    Yôn

    Senior Member
    English
    Paulfromitaly said:
    Can we interpret "extra and not necessary" as "wrong" then?
    In most cases, I think that would be true. And, I would probably say that that is true in this case too.

    Get off of the grass!
    Get off the grass!

    Yes, I see what you are saying. I think adding of is probably incorrect. I remember seeing something in my dictionary about that... I think.




    Jon
     

    Moogey

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I don't think I've heard him remove the word "of" in that song. I think I use them interchangeably. It seems to me after a recent thread that "off of" is an AE thing. But then again, this song is from an American I think (the BE and AustrE people lose their accents when singing).

    -M
     

    Clayjar

    Senior Member
    English, Canada
    se16teddy said:
    When I hear this 'of', it is usually pronounced [shwa]. For example, I might say 'Take your hands off o' me', but I would never say 'take your hands off of me'. This leads me to wonder whether this 'of' is not 'of' at all, but a relic of a second syllable in 'offe' - along the lines of 'Ye Olde Shoppe' etc - retained (or inserted) to avoid an awkward consonant cluster. If I am right then forms using 'off of' are hypercorrections of an original two-syllabled 'offe'.
    I'm an English speaker from Canada, and both the "off" and the "off of" sound correct to me.

    Get off the grass! :tick:
    Get off of the grass! :tick:

    In Canada, in informal oral speech, the "Get off of the grass" sounds more like "Get offa the grass" or "Get offuh the grass."
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    Moogey said:
    I don't think I've heard him remove the word "of" in that song. I think I use them interchangeably. It seems to me after a recent thread that "off of" is an AE thing. But then again, this song is from an American I think (the BE and AustrE people lose their accents when singing).

    -M
    Actually, Damien Rice is Irish.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Paulfromitaly said:
    Actually, Damien Rice is Irish.
    But he may well adopt a trans-Atlantic, or at best mid-Atlantic accent and style of speech:)

    Picking up on Teddy's theme, the OED llists off of from 1450 onwards, but comments:
    In later use only colloq. (non-standard) and regional.
     

    DavyBCN

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    Neither is incorrect or correct. "Get off me" is British English usage; "get off of me" is American English. The second is being used more and more by native British speakers - as with many other things - the influence of US films, etc. The ame applies to the addition of "of" in other phrases mentioned, such as come off.
     

    cirrus

    Senior Member
    UK English
    DavyBCN said:
    Neither is incorrect or correct. "Get off me" is British English usage; "get off of me" is American English. The second is being used more and more by native British speakers - as with many other things - the influence of US films, etc. The ame applies to the addition of "of" in other phrases mentioned, such as come off.
    I disagree about this being a simple BE/AE split. Off of is common in London and across the south and to my knowledge has been for at least the last twenty odd years. I think it is more a case of people making a false link with on top of or something like that.
     

    A90Six

    Senior Member
    England - English.
    In agreement with everyone it appears!

    Off of is more common in colloquial AE and some BE dialects, and has been around for quite some time. It is non-standard.

    This complex preposition is even less excusable when - as it is so often - used to replace from:
    • Take that bottle off of him.:cross:
    • I got this lamp off of an antique dealer.:cross:
     

    DavyBCN

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    cirrus said:
    I disagree about this being a simple BE/AE split. Off of is common in London and across the south and to my knowledge has been for at least the last twenty odd years. I think it is more a case of people making a false link with on top of or something like that.
    Just confirms my view that people in the south of England watch too many American films and pick up every new fashion:D . I lived in Manchester between 1982 and 2003, and we couldn't be doing with all these modern ways.:p
     

    Clayjar

    Senior Member
    English, Canada
    panjandrum said:
    You surprise me with this question.
    I would say that including the of is "incorrect".

    I can't take my eyes off you.:tick:

    I can't take my eyes off of you:eek:
    Just to confuse everyone a little bit more...

    Here are the lyrics to another song (by an American band), which uses the "take my eyes off of you" form.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    If Andy Williams could sing "Can't take my eyes off you", without the "of" then why can't everybody else? (or do I mean !) :)
     

    Johannesburg

    New Member
    Croatia,Croatian
    Please, could anyone tell me, what is correct.

    I cannot take my eyes off you
    or
    I cannot take my eyes off of you.

    Thanks
     

    Frajola

    Senior Member
    Braz Portuguese
    Here's bartleby's view of 'off of'

    > The compound preposition off of also has an informal tone and is best avoided in formal speech and writing: He stepped off (not off of) the platform.


    This is what Paul Brians, of the Department of English at Washington State University, has to say about 'off of'

    > For most Americans, the natural thing to say is “Climb down off of [pronounced “offa”] that horse, Tex, with your hands in the air”; but many U.K. authorities urge that the “of” should be omitted as redundant. Where British English reigns you may want to omit the “of” as superfluous, but common usage in the U.S. has rendered “off of” so standard as to generally pass unnoticed, though some American authorities also discourage it in formal writing. However, “off of” meaning “from” in phrases like “borrow five dollars off of Clarice” is definitely nonstandard.


    Just thought those would also help enlighten us.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Here's bartleby's view of 'off of'

    > The compound preposition off of also has an informal tone and is best avoided in formal speech and writing: He stepped off (not off of) the platform.
    It's unhelpful to describe that as "bartleby's view of 'off of'" because what you quote comes from The American Heritage Book of English Usage, while there are at least two other usage guides on that Web site. One is a rather dated version of Fowler and the other is The Columbia Guide to Standard American English by Kenneth G. Wilson, in which Wilson says, concerning off of, that it "is a compound preposition that many commentators insist should be replaced by off alone to avoid redundancy but which is nonetheless Standard at most Casual and Impromptu levels."

    Wilson capitalizes Standard, Casual, and Impromptu here because he is using the terms in a very precise way which he defines elsewhere in the book. His statement seems to me to be even stronger than that of the AH work in identifying off of as part of standard speech. He goes on to identify some instances in which off of is "Substandard and a shibboleth."

    All the above is in reference to American speech, of course.
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Sorry Maxi and Panj, but the song we're all thinking about uses "off of":
    You're just too good to be true
    Can't take my eyes off of you
    You'd be like heaven to touch
    I wanna hold you so much

    And if it was good enough for Andy Williams AND Frankie Valli, well, who are we to doubt its appropriateness?
     

    sloopjc

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Mick Jagger of the band, the Rolling Stones provides another example of AE support with the use of, "off of" becoming "off-a" to both emulate the American accent and enhance the lyrical melody:

    "Hey!.. YOU!.. Get off-a (off of) my cloud!"

    If you try to say, "...get off my cloud!" the "-a" sound almost exists anyway. Not surprising then, that off of is recognised.
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    Hello, friends. It took me some time to get used to the fact that certain phrasal verbs with off don't need the preposition of. I can think of this example:

    He fell off the roof.

    To my Spanish ears, there was something missing there and I always tended to say

    He fell off of the roof.

    Is this the same case you're discussing here? Would it be terrible if I said that? (It took me a while to get rid of the bad habit).

    Cheers, Mr Bones.
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi, Mr. Bones,

    "He fell off of the roof" is undoubtedly incorrect, but it would also undoubtedly be the first choice of more than half of all AE speakers! You'd sound just like a native speaker in the US!
     

    keepsakes

    Member
    English/Chinese Canada/China
    Looking up the entry for "of" in various dictionaries, I conclude that using "off of" is not just redundant but apparently grammatically wrong; this concurs with some other people's arguments.

    "Off" serves as a preposition.

    He fell off the roof. What did he fall off? A roof. "He fell off a roof".

    "Of" is another preposition, though commonly used in genitive cases.

    He fell off the roof of Mr. Roof.

    I doubt that double-prepositions are grammatically correct, however many exceptions there may be.
    That's the simplest way I can put it, but if anyone has a better argument, present =P.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I doubt that double-prepositions are grammatically correct, however many exceptions there may be.
    That's the simplest way I can put it, but if anyone has a better argument, present =P.

    Prepositions composed of two or more words are indeed grammatical in English and are referred to as compound prepositions or phrasal prepositions. Kenneth G. Wilson has an entry about them in The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, in which he lists the following as examples: previous to, in addition to, in spite of, in advance of, instead of. He says of them, "They are simply additional resources to be used appropriately."

    New information: Wilson's analysis of the matter is a traditional one. I expect that any modern general dictionary will have entries of two-word and three-word combinations which it labels as a preposition or a compound preposition. I haven't seen the label phrasal preposition used in a dictionary, but I know of at least two usage guides which use it.

    However, I just found this Web page in which Geoffrey K. Pullum, co-editor of the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, argues that it is wrong to use the term phrasal preposition, and he may be critical of the term compound preposition as well, or at least deny that certain word combinations identified as such are prepositions (I'd have to check his grammar to clarify that point.)
     

    Robot Lips

    New Member
    America-English
    Hi, Mr. Bones,

    "He fell off of the roof" is undoubtedly incorrect, but it would also undoubtedly be the first choice of more than half of all AE speakers! You'd sound just like a native speaker in the US!
    You are correct. It's just like when people say "a couple of" instead of "a couple." The "of" is incorrect.

    And, as far as using songs to figure out what is proper English: don't bother. Lyrics aren't held to the same standards as literary works.
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    Hi, Mr. Bones,

    "He fell off of the roof" is undoubtedly incorrect, but it would also undoubtedly be the first choice of more than half of all AE speakers! You'd sound just like a native speaker in the US!
    Thank you, Joelline. That's a great relief :). Mr Bones.
     
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