Preposition: I have torn a button <away from/ off of> my jacket

< Previous | Next >

skerby

Member
Italian Italy
Hi everyone,
I was just wondering whether the prepositions "off of, away from" which I cast doubt on have basically the same meaning. Can I say for instance :" I have torn a botton off of my jacket or I have torn a botton away from my jacket"?. Hope you can dispel my doubts.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    No, they don't mean the same thing. Take, for example, the following sentences:

    "The man jumped off (of) the train."
    "The man jumped away from the train."

    In the first sentence he is on the train and jumps off of it. In the second, he could be on the train but most likely is not and has jumped in a direction that puts some distance between him and the train.

    "I'm trying to get this ice cream off (of) my jacket."
    "I'm trying to get this ice cream away from my jacket."

    In the first sentence ice cream has landed on my jacket somehow and I am trying to clean it. In the second, the ice cream is near my jacket but not on it and I'm trying to put some distance between my jacket and the ice cream.

    "He ran off (of) the cliff."
    "He ran away from the cliff."

    In the first, he ran towards the cliff and actually ran over the edge of it. In the second, he ran in the opposite direction of the cliff.
     
    Last edited:

    skerby

    Member
    Italian Italy
    No, they don't mean the same thing. Take, for example, the following sentences:

    "The man jumped off (of) the train."
    "The man jumped away from the train."

    In the first sentence he is on the train and jumps off of it. In the second, he could be on the train but most likely is not and has jumped in a direction that puts some distance between him and the train.

    "I'm trying to get this ice cream off (of) my jacket."
    "I'm trying to get this ice cream away from my jacket."

    In the first sentence ice cream has landed on my jacket somehow and I am trying to clean it. In the second, the ice cream is near my jacket but not on it and I'm trying to put some distance between my jacket and the ice cream.

    "He ran off (of) the cliff."
    "He ran away from the cliff."

    In the first, he ran towards the cliff and actually ran over the edge of it. In the second, he ran in the opposite direction of the cliff.
    Awesome man,you could not have been much clearer, deep thanks.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I agree with Parla and sound shift (post #2) - that's how I see it in BE too. Maybe not "poor English" if this is speech, but certainly colloquial.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    "He ran off (of) the cliff."
    "He ran away from the cliff."

    In the first, he ran towards the cliff and actually ran over the edge of it.
    How is the first one like "he ran towards the cliff and actually ran over the edge of it" not "e ran in the opposite direction of the cliff "?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    None of the examples would be how I would express this (AE).

    I have lost a button from my jacket.

    or

    I have a loose button on my jacket. (It is about to fall off.)
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    None of the examples would be how I would express this (AE).

    I have lost a button from my jacket.

    or

    I have a loose button on my jacket. (It is about to fall off.)
    Thank you, Packard. :)
    Is "I have lost a button from my jacket" like "fall away", please?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Thank you, Packard. :)
    Is "I have lost a button from my jacket" like "fall away", please?
    If you have lost it, it is gone and needs to be replaced. How and where it has gone may not be known.

    Or it may be known and it may be in your possession ready to be sewn on again. In that case I guess it is technically not lost but I would say to my tailor.

    "I lost a button from my shirt, but I have it here. I need it sewn back on.

    Small and light buttons like those on a shirt can fall off with almost no noise to accompany it. So those buttons are easily lost. Large and heavy buttons on jackets and coats are more easily noticed when they become loose or fall to the ground. Those technically are not "lost".
     
    Last edited:

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    How is the first one like "he ran towards the cliff and actually ran over the edge of it" not "e ran in the opposite direction of the cliff "?
    "He ran of (of) the cliff" can mean that he ran towards and over the edge of the cliff. It can also mean that he ran inland, .away from the edge of the cliff.

    Context usually makes the meaning clear.
    "
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    If you have lost it, it is gone and needs to be replaced. How and where it has gone may not be known.

    Or it may be known and it may be in your possession ready to be sewn on again. In that case I guess it is technically not lost but I would say to my tailor.

    "I lost a button from my shirt, but I have it here. I need it sewn back on.

    Small and light buttons like those on a shirt can fall off with almost no noise to accompany it. So those buttons are easily lost. Large and heavy buttons on jackets and coats are more easily noticed when they become loose or fall to the ground. Those technically are not "lost".
    Thanks a lot!
    "He ran of (of) the cliff" can mean that he ran towards and over the edge of the cliff. It can also mean that he ran inland, .away from the edge of the cliff.

    Context usually makes the meaning clear.
    "
    Thank you!
     
    Last edited:

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It depends how you are envisaging the cliff. If you have the edge of the cliff in your mind's eye, then "he ran off the cliff" means that he ran over the edge and fell. If he is running inland, away from the edge, then you are using "cliff" in a broader sense: it's the flat space at the top of the cliff, perhaps a few metres wide. It's not obvious where exactly "the cliff" ends and solid land begins.

    "He ran straight off the cliff" would give a good idea of how he went over the edge.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    It depends how you are envisaging the cliff. If you have the edge of the cliff in your mind's eye, then "he ran off the cliff" means that he ran over the edge and fell. If he is running inland, away from the edge, then you are using "cliff" in a broader sense: it's the flat space at the top of the cliff, perhaps a few metres wide. It's not obvious where exactly "the cliff" ends and solid land begins.

    "He ran straight off the cliff" would give a good idea of how he went over the edge.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Thanks a lot!
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top