Is the word of necessary? For example:

Take the towel off of the counter.


Take the towel off the counter.

  • I am in favor of economy of expression. As my grandfather used to say, "The more you say, the less the better." So lose the "of." In the same vein, in the expression "Where is he at?" lose the "at." It's extraneous. Jun 6, 2013 at 19:30

2 Answers 2


It is correct and acceptable in either case. The use of the word 'of' in that case is not necessary, but when used I believe it to be superfluous.

Note: Take consideration that TrevorD advises against the use of off of because in British English, since it is neither correct nor acceptable. I am not British so I cannot speak to this, but keep it in mind. I have definitely heard this in American English though. e.g. Get your hands off of my stove!

  • I don't think that it would be viewed as either 'correct' or 'acceptable' in British English. It would very rarely be said over here, except by non-British speakers.
    – TrevorD
    Jun 6, 2013 at 23:31
  • @TrevorD Which of the two cases were you referring to? And could you provide an example of what British English speakers would say?
    – tf.rz
    Jun 7, 2013 at 14:30
  • @tfrz Sorry, I now realise I was unclear. I was actually responding to the original question "Is the word of necessary?". I would be very surprised to hear a British speaker saying off of, and I think most British listeners would think it strange & American. So I agree with you that the of is superfluous, but would go further and say that off of is neither 'correct' nor 'acceptable' in BrEng.
    – TrevorD
    Jun 7, 2013 at 19:15
  • @TrevorD It's all good! I was asking in the best interest of the OP. I have incorporated your response into my answer.
    – tf.rz
    Jun 7, 2013 at 19:52

Although it appears in the Journal of Samuel Pepys, written in the 17th century, using "Off of" for "off" is an error in standard modern English.

  • 3
    It is? Who decides what counts as "an error in standard Modern English", anyway? Is there a Standard Modern English Board of Prepositions that maintains The List? Jun 6, 2013 at 20:16
  • Do you have any source for that?
    – p.s.w.g
    Jun 7, 2013 at 0:20

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