(TL;DR) 1. I've been plagued by the postverbal use of the preposition 'of'. After verbs, when describing attributes like origin or source, what are the differences between 'from' and 'of'?
The verbs exemplified (in OED) below, can be followed by both 'from' and 'of'; so what differs?
Does the (choice of) preposition change anything?

2. Etymologically, what caused of's prevalence over 'from'?

[Optional Reading] [OED:] III. Of origin or source. Indicating the thing, place, or person from which or whom something originates, comes, or is acquired or sought.

a. Expressing ancestral or local origin, descent, etc.: following
arise, be, come, descend, spring, etc.; be born, be bred, be derived, be propagated, etc.

†b. Expressing the origin or derivation of a name. Obs.

9. Following certain verbs and verbal derivatives.

a. With borrow, buy, gain, get, have, receive, steal, take, win, etc.
Now replaced by from, or arch. and regional, except in take advantage (see advantage n. Phrases 2a), take leave (see leave n.1 2a), etc. See also off adv. 3..

b. With ask, beg, demand, desire, expect, inquire, request, require, want, etc.;
also hear, learn, understand.

IV. Of the source or starting point of action, emotion, etc.,
in respect of motive, cause, reason, or ground.

a. Indicating the mental or non-material source or spring of action, emotion, etc.: out of, from, as an outcome, expression, or consequence of.

  • I'm not sure it's etymological- of and from mean slightly different things and typically one makes more sense than the other for a given verb. When both make sense, both are found in use. – Jim Jul 3 '15 at 4:20
  • This is my opinion, and not based on research: "of" connotes affiliation, association, or action relative to the origin or source, while "from" connotes a flow, progression, or succession starting with the origin or source and (possibly) moving away from it. If I say "...ask of Bob..." a request is being submitted to Bob, and the request is associated with Bob. Instead, if I say "...ask from Bob..." then I want something to flow from Bob, maybe to me. Or else I want to imply an obligation for Bob to respond to the request to me. – MrMeritology Jul 31 '15 at 7:35

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