Not sure how to name this correctly, but there seems to be a trend of adding an "of" to phrasal verbs that ends in "off" and I'm wondering if that is, in fact, correct English.

Example from here:

I make a fortune off of them.

Shouldn't the correct usage be

I make a fortune off them.


1 Answer 1


This use goes back to the 15th century (and Shakespeare used it), but as the OED says of it "In later use colloquial (nonstandard) and regional".

So the "trend" of using it has been going on for more than six hundred years; but the trend of regarding it as "incorrect" only seems to go back one or two hundred.

  • 1
    Citations and a clearer explanation might improve the quality of this answer. Jul 8, 2021 at 14:20
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    Off of is the conventional spelling of the frequent practice of adding an epenthetic central vowel (schwa /ə/) at the end of monosyllabic prepositions like off and out. The zombie rule that forbids off of but allows out of is, like split infinitives and It is I, a product of upperclass English parsons with too much time on their hands and strange ideas about reforming the lower classes by correcting their speech. It's stupid and irrelevant, and should be ignored. Go right ahead and say and write off of any time you want. It's your language, not Lindley Murray's. Jul 8, 2021 at 15:23
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    While I agree with your comment in general, @JohnLawler, I think your characterisation of the expression as a phontic variant is wrong, at least for BrE. I got it off of a friend is common in various parts of the UK, and the /v/ is definitely present.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 8, 2021 at 15:32
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    Probly true; nuts and bolts get used every which way. But I've found it useful to keep an eye on epenthesis, like If you hadna done that, theyda left, which is normal speech, but doesn't have a good prose translation. Jul 8, 2021 at 15:37
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    The answer @AlexIxeras is that language is what it is, not what somebody thinks it ought to be (whether for reasons of logic or anything else). Prepositions from, off, and out of are standard (but off is standard only in a spatial sense). Prepositions out, off (in an extended sense) and off of are non-standard.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 10, 2021 at 12:43

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