I dont know when to use each of them when it comes to places I know how to use "out of" and "off" like get in the car and get off roof but in these sentence it says:

the teachers have really been cracking down on kids copying off of each other.

I thought couldn't it be "out of" or "from"? Which is why I'm asking this, I dont know which to use in a certain context.

  • 'Copying each other' idiomatically means 'imitating one another'. 'Copying from' each other is the way to express the copying of written material. 'Off of' is frowned upon universally in formal language but it nevertheless remains common idiom (at least in BrE).
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 15:49
  • @NigelJ Agree, also in AmE. However, the reason is that off means: from another person. I got the car off him. I got the answer off you. Funny thing that usage, isn't it?
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 15:55
  • @Lambie Yes, but strictly 'off' is locational. So 'I took it off him' is forcible, physical. To look sideways at another's work and to copy it down (another preposition to ponder) is not physically 'off' but as an origin or derivation 'from'. 'From' a source. Not 'off' a location. And it is not depriving the possessor, unless we enter the realms of copyright, So they still possess their work. It is not 'off' them. It is still 'on' them. But it is copied 'from' them.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 15:59
  • @NigelJ off someone is not necessarily forcible. "I got it off him." colloquially is from him and can be forcible depending on context. In any case, it still means from another person['s exam paper, etc.].
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 16:01
  • @Lambie i got it im not going to use "off of" but my question is how do you realize you use "off" or "out of" in case that i dont want to use "from" like in your examples i got the the car out of him, i got the answer out of you arent those correct? if not how do you realize when to use them? Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 17:17

1 Answer 1

  • to get something off someone = to get it from someone, forcibly or not

  • to get something off of someone is like from someone but suggests either force or subterfuge.

  • to get something out of someone = to manage to get something from someone when the person is not enthusiastic about giving it up.

  • I couldn't get an answer out of him. [He would not give me an answer]

  • But this is a non-native speaker who should not be answered here but directed to ELL, and if you must ignore the site guidelines to “help” him, tell him that the English is “from”, and the rest is vernacular (at best) which should not be imitated (unless you are working as a navvy).
    – David
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 19:23
  • @David I did not want to answer in comments and the mods will move it to ELL. Sorry about the "site rules".
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 19:49

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