I have noticed these two phrases appearing more and more often and I can't for the life of me figure out what they mean!

They are "off of" and "on me"

For example:

(Taken from HBO's Silicon Valley and Reddit) 1. Going off of what you just said. 2. Piggybacking off of that. 3. The apps just keep quiting on me. 4. My dog ran off on me.

Could anybody explain what "off of" and "on me" mean? Specifically what they mean and how to use them.

Thank you!

closed as too broad by ruakh, Drew, Edwin Ashworth, JJJ, Nigel J Apr 30 '18 at 20:30

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Those are two separate questions, with separate answers, and should be posted separately. – ruakh Apr 29 '18 at 21:01
  • Well it's been answered now, but I'll keep that in mind. – Vasu Apr 29 '18 at 21:11

"... on X" where X is often a pronoun describes an action that affects X. "Going off of X" means "based on X". To go off of something means to think or talk based on that assumption. To piggyback off of something is basically to exploit or use it.

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    Hello, Jacob. Answers on ELU, even where correct, need to be backed up by supporting evidence from say dictionaries. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 29 '18 at 23:22
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    Another set of meanings: A great many people have played some team sports, even if in grade school. In games like Basketball and all types of Football very frequently you have a player on an opposite team covering another player. Typically as a defender you get "on" someone when you start guarding them from receiving a pass and there are maneuvers you can do while running or having your teammates run to distract and draw a defender 'off of you' – Tom22 Apr 30 '18 at 2:02

When 'off' is a preposition, the phrase 'off of' can almost always be shortened to just 'off'. The unnecessary 'of' is common in informal speech and writing, though, and using it is never a serious usage error in the USA. But writers who value concision can avoid it. Best avoided in formal speech and writing. Liable to be seen as an error in British English. This is despite its appearance in many texts since at least 1450.


  • Got it! I'll keep that in mind. – Vasu Apr 30 '18 at 8:23
  • Not quite right. The specific informal American "off of" that the OP is asking about should be shortened to "on" in formal writing. For example: "based off of his report, I recommend ..." should be "based on his report ...", not "based off his report ..." In the OP's examples, it should be "going on what I just said" and "piggybacking on that". The other informal American "off of" should be shortened to "off", but I suspect the OP doesn't have any trouble with that usage. – Peter Shor Apr 30 '18 at 16:27
  • And I believe this American "off of", unlike the one discussed in the grammarphobia blog, is a new construction. – Peter Shor Apr 30 '18 at 16:33

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