I'm new to this site so i don't know the proper formatting for questions here.

My friends and I were having a debate whether or not saying "I ordered it offline" was a correct way to say "I ordered it online" or "I ordered it off the internet". It seems as though its more of a preference however are they all grammatically correct, and which one do you use/hear more often?


I didn't make it clear enough, when I'm referring to "I ordered it offline" I am referring to ordering something online or off the internet

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    If you want to say you ordered something from the internet, you can say "I ordered it online". I don't really understand what you're asking though. Are you asking if you can also say "I ordered it offline" to mean the same thing??
    – Brandin
    Apr 20, 2015 at 14:27
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    "I ordered it offline" would only ever be used by a native speaker as a jocular way to express that he bought it "in real life", in a brick-and-mortar store. Both "I bought it online" and "I bought it off the internet" and perfectly idiomatic and mean you ordered it through a website. The former is more common in my circles (AmE speaker).
    – Dan Bron
    Apr 20, 2015 at 14:28
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    offline is the opposite of online. For example, you can set your browser to "offline mode" and this means it won't connect to the Internet. So, offline would be reasonable to interpret as the opposite of 'online'.
    – Brandin
    Apr 20, 2015 at 14:33
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    Also I think maybe there's some confusion in the question. When you say "I ordered it off the Internet", the "off" in this sentence has nothing to do with "offline". Offline simply means "not online". When you take something "off" something else, it means that the something else behaves like a storage area or platform from which you can remove something. So in that sense, it may make some sense to say that you took something "off the Internet" (even though I've never used this construction)
    – Brandin
    Apr 20, 2015 at 14:36
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    @inVINCEable No. If one person said it, I would ask him "How is ordering it 'offline' different from ordering it online?" It's possible that when that person says "offline", he really means "online" because he's not clear on the difference. For example, I notice some people use the word "backslash" when they mean "forward slash" or vice versa because they're not certain of the difference of these two glyphs. But that doesn't mean that "backslash" is a 'slang' for "forward slash". If you can understand what they mean it's best to ignore such idiolect terminology.
    – Brandin
    Apr 20, 2015 at 14:46

3 Answers 3


Saying "I ordered it offline" might lead me to ask "So, did you order it by phone, or in person?" It would not imply the same as "I ordered it online."

Saying "I ordered it off the internet" means (to about 99% of US English speakers) the same thing as "I ordered it online."


*"I ordered it offline"

Nah, not really heard or used :-)

At Google Books:

"ordered it offline" About 0 results

"ordered it online" About 2,160 results

Want more?

COCA (CORPUS OF CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN ENGLISH) has zero samples of "ordered it online"

  • 1
    Is that just your opinion or do you have any evidence to back it up?
    – Nicole
    Apr 20, 2015 at 15:10
  • Both. Updated. ................ Apr 20, 2015 at 15:47

I can see no problem with ordering something offline, but "ordering off the internet" is wildly ambiguous. This is because people often use "off" or even "off of" where one might more correctly use "from", e.g. "he got it off of the Post Office". So I would not naturally interpret "ordered it off the internet" as meaning "ordered it from a bricks-and-mortar shop". I myself am rather partial to the term "realspace".

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    Can't agree about the comment about "off the Internet". For example, saying "I ordered it off craigslist" is commonly used. Using "off" in this context clearly does not mean "not on" or something like that. It just means "from" as you point out. It's like saying "I ordered it out of a magazine." We say "out of" when we think of the thing as being "in" the magazine. Likewise, you could reasonably buy something "off the Internet" as long as you think of the products being "on" the Internet to begin with.
    – Brandin
    Apr 20, 2015 at 14:53
  • Of course you're right about ordering it off Craigslist, but doesn't it just make my point about "off the internet" being inherently ambiguous? You (and I) don't have a problem with ordering things off the internet, but the original question seemed to be using it as a synonym of "offline".
    – David Pugh
    Apr 20, 2015 at 15:11
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    Off seems to be on the rise and displacing other prepositions left and right. "I bought it off [someone]" has been around for some time, albeit a trifle slangy. Apparently now that usage is expanding to establishments, not just individuals. And now we are increasingly hearing "based off of" for "based on." Apr 20, 2015 at 15:16

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