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What is the difference between "of" and "from" in the following sentences:

The wind is blowing of the fan.

The wind is blowing from the fan.

Not sure if they are properly worded!

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Most people would probably speak of "the breeze blown by the fan" (for most fans, "wind" is a bit strong, but it's the fan doing the blowing, not the moving air itself in this context). –  FumbleFingers Apr 4 '12 at 3:30
    
@FumbleFingers- Thanks. But WikiHow has a similar sentence: The air blowing from the fan (using air instead of wind, though) wikihow.com/Stay-Cool-During-the-Summer –  Noah Apr 4 '12 at 3:49
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Nothing is hard-and-fast. But the Wikihow usage is more common. Even saying "the breeze is blowing from the fan" sounds a bit "tautological" to me - I'd just say it's coming from the fan. Words like breeze, wind, etc. denote already-moving air, which usually blows from a direction, or is blown by something (usually, a fan). –  FumbleFingers Apr 4 '12 at 12:18
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The first sentence,

The wind is blowing of the fan.

is uncommon to the point where I think most would take it to be a typographical error (perhaps blowing out of the fan or blowing off the fan).

You would say

The wind is blowing from the fan.

to indicate that the wind originates from the fan or from the direction of the fan.

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And what is the difference between 'off' and 'from' as in your examples? –  Noah Apr 4 '12 at 4:00
    
Off simply indicates separation, not direction or origin: dust billowing off the hillside, cars streaming off the highway, detectives coming off a case. From is more general and can indicate either the source or the direction where the source lies. We can speak of the breeze blowing from the north, or the left side of the room, or the vent that should have been closed before the party. –  choster Apr 4 '12 at 15:19
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The second sentence is fine. The first sentence seems wrong.

'X is of the Y' is a correct if uncommon usage, e.g.

The barbarian is of the north.

The machine is of the older type.

But the insertion of 'blowing' before 'of' is I think incorrect. 'is of' is a descriptive term; 'is blowing of' doesn't work.

'Is blowing off' from choster's answer works, because 'blowing off' is a valid fragment on its own, and for the same reason 'blowing from' works. Both 'blowing off' and 'blowing from' are descriptions of what the air is doing and could be used interchangeably.

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