1. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I got off of the bus

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by OurJud, Aug 31, 2015.

    Just out of interest, is the American's tendency to say 'off of' instead of simply 'off' as we in the UK do, an accepted turn of phrase over there?
     
  2. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    What's ironic is the US tendency to drop the word, "of" when describing quantities :meh: o_O

    eg: I ate a couple apples.
     
  3. Bookster
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    Both seem to be accepted here. I would say "stepped off the bus".
     
  4. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not in literature, surely?
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I see both in books. I don't think a reader would be given pause by either approach.
     
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  6. Bookster
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    Define literature, please. It might also depend on whether it appeared in dialogue or in description written in some sort of dialect. If your point is that leaving out the 'of' is 'more correct', I'll agree. And don't call me Shirley.
     
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  7. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry, I meant published works. I can see why it would be okay in dialogue, but it would surprise me if it was accepted in general grammatical terms if used in text books and other non-fiction.

    I'm not sure how to say this without causing offence among the American forum members, but over here - although not as common - to say 'off of' is seen as a clear sign of poor education and upbringing.
     
  8. Bookster
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    No offense taken here, though poor education doesn't always indicate poor upbringing, I don't think. I'd say you're right about the 'off of' not being generally accepted in serious writing.
     
  9. Michael Pless
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    Michael Pless Active Member

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    Pam Peters (editor of the Cambridge Australian English Style Guide, a very practical, if not invaluable book) says: "In impromptu speech both [off and of] are used in quick succession... in such cases the of is redundant and should be edited out of written text."

    I would never use it, unless in a character's dialogue, and only if that person was from the USA, because I haven't heard it used in any other country.
     
  10. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think either method used here breaks any rules of grammar. One may be formal or less formal but formality isn't the law.

    So I think it really comes down to personal preference and how you want it to flow. But then again.... I am far from an expert.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    This web page has a nice discussion: https://motivatedgrammar.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/on-off-of/

    As I read it, "off of" is an older usage. Perhaps in the same way that fork-switching is an older way of eating, and another example that slips my mind right now, American use of this reflects a slower change of custom than in the UK. As the page points out, there's really no fundamental grammatical problem with "off of"--while the "of" is redundant, so is the "of" in "I got the ornament out of the box." But we don't say, "I got the ornament out the box." We just don't. Maybe in fifty years we will.

    Unrelated to that page: My impression is that in the UK, language and accent and usage is regarded as a much stronger indicator of class than it is in the US. Now, I may be wrong--it's easy to be blind to your own prejudices--so I'm curious to know if that's a general consensus or not. But
    America does have a large number of accents and dialects, and there isn't a terribly strong consensus that just one of them is "right." So even when someone decides that a new usage is right, there isn't a lot of class pressure or fear of being seen as the "wrong" class, to quickly drive that change.
     
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  12. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just, whatever you do, don't say "I got off on the bus."
     
  13. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    They are both valid, and neither is "more valid" than the other.

    In this sentence:

    "I got off of the bus."

    "off" is an adverb. It functions the same as in "step off", "knock it off", "turn it off", etc. "I got off" is the central idea, and the sentence would be a complete thought with just those three words. To clarify the thought, you add the prepositional phrase "of the bus" to distinguish the thought from other thoughts like "I got off of the freeway", "I got off of the train", or "I masturbated."

    There are plenty of other examples of "get" with an adverb and a prepositional phrase. "I got down on my knees and prayed", "I got up to speed", "I got ahead of everyone else", "I got away from the bus", etc. "I got off of the bus" is no different. The preposition "of" is not redundant any more than "to" is redundant in "up to speed" or "of" is redundant in "the back of the bus".

    In this sentence:

    "I got off the bus."

    "off" is a preposition. It is part of the prepositional phrase "off the bus".

    Meh. I always say "I exited the bus" anyway.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
  14. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    In this sentence:

    "I ate a couple of apples."

    "a couple" is the direct object. The phrase functions as a noun. "of apples" is a prepositional phrase that functions as an adjective that modifies "a couple". It is the same construction as sentences like:

    "I ate a ton of apples." (Note that we would not say "I ate a ton apples.")
    "I ate the lion's share of apples."
    "I ate an amount of apples that would surprise you."

    In this sentence:

    "I ate a couple apples."

    "apples" is the direct object. "a couple" is a phrase that functions as an adjective that modifies "apples". It is the same construction as sentences like:

    "I ate two apples."
    "I ate some apples."
    "I ate too many apples."
     
  15. Kingtype
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    Kingtype Always writing or thinking things XD Staff Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    @OurJud

    I'm from the USA

    From a city with a famous dialect. (Well famous in the states)

    Like around here a lot of the time we say "What are yinz doin?" or "I gotta warsh my clothes." and we call rubberbands 'gumbands' instead.

    Another big one for us which is my favorite, in some cases where most would say "I bought some food and a couple other things." a lot of people who live in this city would say "I bought some food and n'at" (Said like nat but faster and for some reason reminds me of a cat)

    But yes "Just some stuff and n'at."

    We got lots a stuff like that :D

    We got all sorts of terms for stuff to but that just comes with this city. But yeah both "I stepped off the bus." or "I stepped off of the bus." are fine, or at the least I've seen similar sentences sometimes containing 'of' sometimes not but when read I think I prefer it without.

    I think reads a little bit smoother without the 'of'
     
  16. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    It sounds wrong. Lazy perhaps.

    Looking at the description for direct object, it says, "Who? or What?"

    You say "a couple" is the direct object but they ate apples, not a couple. I do not understand. I would have thought "couple of apples" was the direct object. Like a flock of birds. Or a pack of wolves. I realise they are collective nouns but if feels like the same "rule" applies.

    I [saw | have | ate | verbed] a [couple | group | descriptive quantity word] of [nouns].
     
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  17. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    I've never heard anyone raise an argument about this over here in the States.

    I stepped off of the bus.
    I stepped off the bus.
    Looking at it side-by-side, I suppose that "off of" is a little chewier to read, but it isn't a red flag for poor education as it apparently is on your side of the pond. (No offense taken, by the way.)

    I have to agree with @Steerpike. Since we don't seem to have a preference here, readers probably aren't going to care one way or the other. Unless they are super picky, I guess... :whistle:
     
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  18. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    This sentence:

    "I ate a couple."

    is grammatically valid and it is a complete thought. It is used in a context where apples have already been mentioned. Example:

    "Did you see there were apples on the table?"
    "Yeah, I ate a couple."

    "a couple" is the direct object in "I ate a couple" just as in "I ate a couple of apples."
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
  19. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Ha ha! Well, where I live in Scotland, sentence constructions like I got the ornament out the box are VERY common. At least in speech—not in formal writing. It was one of the things I had to get used to when I moved here. Nobody goes into the hospital. They go in hospital. They don't say I'm going away now. They say I'm away. (My first reaction was : no you're not, you're still here!) Lots of words left out of phrases that Americans would use.

    Oh, you cannae shove your grannie aff a bus
    You cannae shove your grannie aff a bus
    You cannae shove your grannie
    'Cause she's your mammie's mammie
    You cannae shove your grannie aff a bus
     
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  20. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting. Then your usage of "out" is consistent where it is inconsistent in the US. We say "out the window" but not "out the box". I guess we decided to let "out" replace "out through" but not "out of". That is:

    "out [adv] through [prep] the window" becomes "out [prep] the window" (occurs in US English)
    "out [adv] of [prep] the box" becomes "out [prep] the box" (does not occur in US English)
     
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  21. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    We say that... at least in my neck of the woods we do.
     
  22. Masterspeler
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    Masterspeler Active Member

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    I use to drive a bus, doing commuter runs to and from Manhattan mostly (Some other routes too) and I never ever heard anyone say "Can I get off of the bus here, please?"

    And that's not because of the please, mind you! I have had many foreigners too. Woodbury Commons was this outdoor outlet shopping thing. Overpriced cheap crap that drew in people from China (because it's cooler to buy something made in China from the U.S.) UK, Australia, South Africa and every European country and then some.

    So I can't blame this on us yanks being uncultured. The commuters are wall street types and so on. Yes, there are the scummy types and three times schmucks tried to rob me (they failed. I wooped their buts and they're still in jail. Assaulting a bus driver is a serious offense these days). I saw some freeky stuff at 2 am leaving the city, with guy and girls in the back. Nearly crashed lol. Met a Maxim cover girl on the 84L route...Funny thing is that it was one of my best jobs. Had a good contract. I made 85k my first year. I know, I know...I should have stayed.

    Anyway, its funny that its not debus. You debark (barca, boat in latin) or disembark (somebody got crazy with extra letters there) or deplane.

    I keep saying things like, "Get off the plane,"or, "Get of my chair," etc and none sound right, "Get off of the plane," or, "Get off of my chair."

    But "Get off my dog" sounds weird, where "Get off of my dog" seems right.

    I love this forum. Everyday I learn something new, or notice a weird quirk of the English language.

    AB
     
  23. davidov
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    I've never seen "off of" in literature. Sounds illiterate to me.
     
  24. xanadu
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    Not sure if it's true for all versions, but the American versions of the Harry Potter books have this all over the place. It annoyed me to no end.

    As an American, I can say that including the "of" sounds very wrong to me. I haven't paid enough attention to whether people around me say it or not, but I'd guess they don't. Not so sure it's an American thing, or if it is, it's not a Pennsylvania thing.
     
  25. Masterspeler
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    Masterspeler Active Member

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    I'm going to pay attention to this, if it's a case of using it for some things and not using for others. It wouldn't surprise me if that's the case. The bus one, I know because I drove one. And airplanes too. I was in aviation, and never have I heard "Get off of the plan."

    It's said "Get off the plan," or "Get out of the plan" if you are stuffed in a lobe or some other compartment. (Lobes are the lower bays. Dear God! I just figured that out NOW!!! I worked for years on planes and lost count of who many lobes I've jumped into, crawled out of etc etc...I always wondered why they called them lobes. They're not brains, or ears, but typing it now made sense.

    Lower Bay as in Lowb, Lobe)

    I can die happy now. It's been 15 years since I've pondered about lobes.

    AB
     

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