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.

Listen to all your fans

vs

Listen to all of  your fans

OR

Name all the states

vs

Name all of  the states

What part of language is of  in these examples? Is it necessary or optional, correct or incorrect?

share|improve this question
1  
When a pronoun follows "all", I think all us would agree that the "of" is needed. –  Peter Shor Sep 2 '12 at 21:12
2  
@PeterShor Be careful with that. A lot of people can’t tell the difference between a personal pronoun and a personal adjective, and you don’t need an of in phrases like “all my children”, which uses a personal adjective. –  tchrist Sep 2 '12 at 21:17
1  
@PeterShor: All we like sheep have gone astray. –  TimLymington Sep 2 '12 at 21:47
1  
Related: “All our X” vs. “all of our X”. –  RegDwigнt Sep 2 '12 at 22:11

2 Answers 2

Of is just a preposition used to say what group or whole includes the part denoted by the preceding word:

Example: most of/ one of/ several of my friends etc.

In the case of all, half, and both; of is optional and you can either omit it or keep it.

But you can't leave out of before the pronouns us, you, them, and it *.

*You don't need to worry about this with "both" because you're not going to say "both of it" anyway.

share|improve this answer

Of can generally be omitted in most cases or reworded to avoid.

For "all of", you could easily replace it with "every" or "each"

In the two examples you gave, the expression could be eliminated entirely with no loss of meaning.

Listen to your fans.

Name the states.

are both clear without adding "all of" or "all"

Whenever I am writing, and I see the word "of" I stop to consider if it can be worded better.

share|improve this answer
    
I would interpret "listen to all your fans" as a request to listen to the collective sound of the fans, and "listen to all of your fans" as a request to listen to each fan individually. –  supercat Aug 14 at 20:03

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.