Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Often times I hear people say "I got it offline" to mean they downloaded it from the internet, is this an accepted term or should it be "I got it online"?

share|improve this question
4  
A variant I have also heard: "I got it off of online". –  Kosmonaut Dec 22 '10 at 16:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

In isolation, I got it offline is probably incorrect, but I can imagine contexts where it would be correct.

In standard usage, online means on or connected to the internet (or, more rarely, intranet etc.), and offline means not connected to the internet, or just on a local computer (whether or not it’s connected).

So since when you download a file you must be connected to the net, it would be more usual/correct to say you got it online.

However, think about how they got the groceries home can mean they (purchased the groceries elsewhere and then) brought them home. Analogously, I could imagine someone saying Normally I work with my spreadsheet online, but I got it offline this morning so I could work on the plane. In this context, I got it offline is being used clearly and not unreasonably to mean downloading something — getting it from online to offline. But this example is a little contrived; in most situations, it should be I got it online.

share|improve this answer
1  
When I read "I got it offline", my first interpretation is that the person got the information while browsing offline. So, with more context, Person A: "Ah, you read the article. Did you click the link to read the follow-up?" Person B: "No, I got it offline, so I couldn't click the link." –  Mitch Schwartz Dec 23 '10 at 6:44
    
@Mitch: yes, I’d agree. –  PLL Jan 12 '11 at 16:16

I'd say that to convey the meaning correctly, you either got a file from an online resource or else you downloaded a file for offline access. "Got a file offline" as an isolated expression to me sounds like you deleted an online resource. For example: I put a few racy pictures of myself online, but now that I think things through, it'd be best if I got them offline.

Casually, perhaps go with that you got it off the internet.

share|improve this answer

"Off-line" is generally accepted to mean "not connected to a network".

You can download files while online* and you can store those files in offline* storage.

*both of these terms are used without the hyphen. For example, Firefox has an option called "Work offline" under the File menu.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.