whisk <off / from> the end

cheshire

Senior Member
Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
Panjandrum said:
I'm stopping there because my brain just went sizzle and I think it's past my bedtime. But I'll whisk a few posts off the end of this thread into an alternative sociolinguistic reality in a moment or two.
What does this "off" mean? Is it part of the idiom "whisk off," or is it "at the end of this thread"?

Can we replace "off" with "at" or "on"?
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    What does this "off" mean? Is it part of the idiom "whisk off," or is it "at the end of this thread"?

    Can we replace "off" with "at" or "on"?
    I believe that Panj was referring to "off the end of this thread", Cheshire. In other words, to take them off the end of the thread and put them somewhere else. Same concept as:

    "I'm going to take this hat off of my head"
    "I'm whisking the crumbs off of this tablecloth".

    The clue to the meaning in this sentence is the use of "into" at the end of the sentence (whisk a few posts off the end of this thread into...). This tells you that something is coming off something and going into something ie:

    "I'm whisking the crumbs off of this tablecloth and putting them into the trash".
     

    James123

    Banned
    USA English
    "Off" in this sentence is functioning as a particle attached to the verb "whisk." In English, particles can be placed after an NP object (when the object is a pronoun, the shift is mandatory). The problem with this sentence, however, is that Panjan failed to include the preposition "at" before the NP "the end," which makes the sentence ungrammatical.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Thanks! But is it really ungrammatical omitting "at," as James123 said?
    Not in my opinion. We say, "I'm going to cut five inches off the end of this rope", not "I'm going to cut five inches off at the end of this rope." It wouldn't make sense. If you position yourself at the end of the rope in order to do your cutting, you will find that there are zero inches to cut off. :)

    In this case, "whisk off" is similar to "cut off", to me.
     

    James123

    Banned
    USA English
    Here's the original sentence in question: But I'll whisk a few posts off the end of this thread into an alternative sociolinguistic reality in a moment or two.

    To make it grammatical, it should read: "But I'll whisk a few posts off at the end of this thread into an alternative sociolinguistic reality in a moment or two." ("whisk" meaning "send")

    If we do not perform the particle-movement transformation, the sentence will read: "But I'll whisk off a few posts at the end of this thread into an alternative sociolinguistic reality in a moment or two."

    If we follow Maxi's advice, we would have: *"But I'll whisk a few posts from at the end of this thread into an alternative sociolinguistic reality in a moment or two." Or: *"But I'll whisk from a few posts at the end of this trhed into an alternative sociolinguistic reality in a moment or two." Neither of these constructions is grammatical English anywhere on the planet--not even Ireland.

    In a completely different construction, however, Maxi is correct: "from" can replace "off." Example: I brushed the dust from my jacket/I brushed the dust off my jacket. These sentences have no relevant grammatical similarity to the sentence that started this thread, however. These sentences do not have a particle. Both "from" and "off" are prepositions here.
     

    James123

    Banned
    USA English
    Not in my opinion. We say, "I'm going to cut five inches off the end of this rope", not "I'm going to cut five inches off at the end of this rope." It wouldn't make sense. If you position yourself at the end of the rope in order to do your cutting, you will find that there are zero inches to cut off. :)

    In this case, "whisk off" is similar to "cut off", to me.
    This analysis is completely irrelevant because the example sentences are not related to the sentence that started the thread. In these sentences, "off" is functioning as a preposition, not a particle, which is why your second sentence is ungrammatical. You simply have the grammar wrong. If "whisk off" and "cut off" were identical grammatically, we could put "off" right behind the verb, but we can't:

    *"I'm going to cut off five inches the end of this rope."
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    James123 said:
    To make it grammatical, it should read: "But I'll whisk a few posts off at the end of this thread into an alternative sociolinguistic reality in a moment or two." ("whisk" meaning "send")
    I think you misunderstood the message of Panjandrum's post. "Whisk" does not mean "send" here, as I read it. He was not going to write a few posts and send them off. He was splitting the thread into two threads, so he whisked a few posts off the end of this thread, where things had gotten badly off-topic, into their own thread, as if he had taken a broom and swept them off the end of this thread onto another thread - their own thread.
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Thanks!

    James123, in fact I can' distinguish a preposition from a particle. Should I make it another thread, or could I ask you to briefly explain it here?
     

    James123

    Banned
    USA English
    I think you misunderstood the message of Panjandrum's post. "Whisk" does not mean "send" here, as I read it. He was not going to write a few posts and send them off. He was splitting the thread into two threads, so he whisked a few posts off the end of this thread, where things had gotten badly off-topic, into their own thread, as if he had taken a broom and swept them off the end of this thread onto another thread - their own thread.
    If that was the intended meaning, then you are correct.
     

    James123

    Banned
    USA English
    Thanks!

    James123, in fact I can' distinguish a preposition from a particle. Should I make it another thread, or could I ask you to briefly explain it here?
    Particles are verbal components, which means that they are connected to a verb. They function a bit like adverbials and are unusual because they can move behind an NP object as in: "I looked up the number"/"I looked the number up."

    Prepositions are function words that form a prepositional phrase (preposition + NP), as in: "in the moring"; "on the table"; etc. Unlike particles, prepositions cannot move, although entire prepositional phrases can move, as in: "I ate breakfast in the morning"; "In the morning I ate breakfast."

    Hope this helps.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    How come I haven't noticed this thread before :eek:
    I'm stopping there because my brain just went sizzle and I think it's past my bedtime. But I'll whisk a few posts off the end of this thread into an alternative sociolinguistic reality in a moment or two.
    After posting that sentence, I marked a number of posts at the end of the thread and moved them from that thread to a new one all of their own.

    Whisk ... off the end of this thread into ...
    Move ... off the end of this thread into ...
    Cut ... off the end of this thread into ...
    Transport ... off the end of this thread into ...

    It sounded OK to me at the time (around midnight) and it still sounds OK.
    Well, it's OK if you'll allow me to use whisk as an appropriate verb for what I did with those posts.

    On reflection, I might have been better to use from, not off.
     
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