Is it acceptable to say something along the lines of "this microphone is out of the 122 series" instead of "this microphone is from the 122 series" ?

I have a colleague who insists that using 'out of' in this way is British English. I have never heard it used like that before.

edit: I asked him if he had any examples, and he said that if you type something to the effect of 'characters out of . . ." in Google, it will come up with many examples. Google suggests "characters out of the Lion King" right away, for instance, which would suggest this usage is popular.

Does it work for talking about products from a specific series though? (We are copy translators for the British market, which is why I'm even bothering to nit-pick)

3 Answers 3


In terms of casual usage both "from" and "out of" are equivalent, and it's easy to find lots of examples using "[singular item] out of [collection]".

For technical writing though; the phrase "out of the series" does require contextual clues to identify whether the writer is intending to say "[singular item] is within the scope of this series" or "[singular item] is outside the scope of this series".

Since a goal of technical writing is high clarity, a better solution might be to state "this microphone is in the 122 series" which expresses both "originates with this series" and "currently exists within this series" without ambiguity.

(Conceptually even 'from this series' can be interpreted incorrectly by non-native speakers, since an extremely literal definition of 'from' means removal or transportation out of something.)


You would say I am from . Not I am out of . The dictionaries that I read don't give such an example for "out of", but they do give it for "from".

So, seems like your friend is wrong. British people might have their colloquial way of speaking, but the Oxford dictionary doesn't seem to support it officially, meaning it's not proper British English. :)

  • Sorry, -1. You would say 'I am from' if referring to a place eg 'I am from London/New York', ie originating from. OP is referring to something that is one of a series or collection, ie belonging. I'm a Brit, it's very common to hear this expression. Eg you see an actor in a film and can't remember who he is. Finally it clicks - "Oh he's the guy out of Friends/X Men/Hamlet". As for the Oxford dictionary, people make the language and dictionaries, not vice versa. This is perfectly 'proper' British English to me.
    – Mynamite
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 9:37
  • @Mynamite I agree that people make the dictionary. However, if a word has still not entered a well-respected dictionary like Oxford, there must be a reason why—probably the word has not been used consistently long enough by the masses, etc. So that begs the question, is the OP aiming at a polished formal work or not? If it's the former, then I don't see how "Oh he's the guy out of Friends" can be used.
    – LWTBP
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 12:11
  • @LWTBP The discussion reminded me that I had heard the phrase "out of" on Seinfeld: "GEORGE: Wilkinson's got a bite on a new one.. Petramco Corp. Out of, hu, Springfield. I think. They're about to introduce some sort of robot butcher." (see seinfeldscripts.com/TheStockTip.htm). Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 17:10
  • Dictionaries have the words 'out' and 'of', I don't think they can be be expected to contain every example of how those two words are used together. I frequently look in Fowler's Modern English Usage only to find that the thing that is puzzling me isn't there. That doesn't mean it's not used or is not 'proper' English - just that there are printing limitations.
    – Mynamite
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 21:40

It would be reasonable to say this microphone is one out of fifty. That would be the most normal usage.

However, you could also say that "Harry Potter is a character out of the novel, The Philosopher's Stone."

So, it would sound odd if you said; "This microphone is out of the 122 series".

It would be OK, though, if you said 'Out of all the microphones in the 122 series, this is the most popular'.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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