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I have seen people use both forms below. Which is correct? If both are, in which situation is each better used?

I am a software engineer based in New York.

I am a software engineer based out of New York.

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Related: english.stackexchange.com/q/15081/1547 –  Marthaª Jul 13 '11 at 17:11
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7 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

They're mostly the same. "Based out of" often suggests that the subject maintains a headquarters or home office in the given location, but spends a majority or other significant amount of time working in other locations; "based in" suggests that the subject works in the given location most of the time. But counterexamples are common, so you shouldn't make assumptions based solely on the wording.

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Agreed absolutely. I think the distinction you make does or could affect some/many/most usages, but there will be plenty of cases where it doesn't. A "non-universally-observed" nuance, but a nuance nevertheless. –  FumbleFingers Jul 13 '11 at 16:24
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"Based in" implies the major operations of a business or entity is contained wholly or primarily in that city. "Based out of" implies that though the "home" of the business may be there, the operations of that business take place in other places as well.

"Based out of" is a common term to refer to the home base of a military unit: the 101st Airborne is "based out of" Fort Campbell, Kentucky, but they're currently getting it done in Afghanistan. We don't usually say "based in", because unfortunately, soldiers don't get to wake up in bed next to their spouses, have a nice breakfast and then commute to war.

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Except in the military context, “based out of ” is dubious, confusing, and poor English. I just saw it cause a very expensive confusion in a formal tax analysis from an American tax expert.

He wrote that Company X was based out of Country Y, and all (foreign) readers of the report interpreted that Company X was based outside Country Y, and as such had no taxable presence there.

This led to erroneous decisions being taken that resulted in payment of millions of U.S. dollars of taxes!

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I’ve never until now seen based out of. It seems to represent confusion between based in and working out of.

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That may be the derivation, but it is indeed quite common AmEng usage. –  MT_Head Sep 22 '12 at 18:05
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I find the "based out of" and "based out of" usages to be faulty, indicating a misunderstanding of the word "based." "Based in" or "based on" are terms which, I believe, make sense considering the meaning of "based." "Based out of" and "based off of" can, of course, be explained as to what the user wants them to mean, but whether the user has made a good word choice is another matter.

As I understand the language, work and/or workers can "come out of" the entity in which they are based, but they are not "based out of" there. Ideas can come from or off of a concept, in which case they are "based on" that initial concept, not "based off of" it.

I have found a response, with reference, in a similar question which supports my answer:

You can’t base anything off of anything. Something is always based on something else.

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/based.html

answered Mar 31 at 23:39 user6769 Found here: "Based on" instead of "based off of"  

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in which situation is each better used?

That would seem to be in situations where American English is used. I have heard "based out of" used by Americans in speech and writing but, not by anyone else. It's not used in the UK and certainly sounds odd and weird, from my British perspective.

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It also sounds odd and weird (and illiterate, or like someone mixed up "based in" and something like "works out of") to my American ears. –  user49413 Aug 9 '13 at 7:55
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The word based on its own implies that although an organisation may have its offices or headquarters in a certain place its business is not necessarily carried out exclusively in that location.

Think of an army base, for example, — it is assumed that operations are carried out in the field and the base is somewhere to leave from and return to.

Thus "based out of" is incorrect; "based in" carries exactly the same meaning that people are incorrectly trying to achieve by using "based out of".

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