They ran off the burning car before it exploded.


They ran off from the burning car before it exploded.

  • 2
    Neither. Liquid runs off something. Use ran from or ran away from. If you are learning English, you might find ell.stackexchange.com/questions a more suitable forum. Apr 23, 2022 at 18:09
  • Hi @KateBunting, Run off also means leaving a place or situation suddenly. Just google it and you'll see. Apr 23, 2022 at 18:27
  • 1
    Yes, as a native speaker I know that - but, when used in that sense it doesn't take a direct object. You could say They ran off before the car exploded. Apr 23, 2022 at 18:33
  • @KateBunting, Can I say "They ran off the car before it exploded"? Is it incorrect? Apr 23, 2022 at 18:40
  • 5
    No, you can't - that's what I meant by 'doesn't take a direct object'. Rain runs off a roof - a person escaping just runs off. Apr 23, 2022 at 18:46

2 Answers 2


There are some historical and current examples of 'run off from' followed by a noun phrase, so I'd say why not, though the meaning seems closer to 'left without permission' in most cases.

among the pack of stout hounds was a little terrier, that ran off from the plantation, and, apparently out of pure mischief, kept up with the running dog (Harpers, 1855)

I ran off from my recitations for the sole purpose of hearing Lincoln (North American Review, 1898)

He used to say he was under fire when he ran off from the army, and his ability to slick himself out of anything that wasn't good for him stayed with him for as long as I knew him. (The color of water :a Black man''s tribute to his white mother; McBride, James, 1957-)

He whispered accusingly in her ear, " You ran off from home and didn't think about us. (Southern Review, 1999)

After stopping briefly, the man then ran off from police when they began to search him. (Independent)

"She ran off from where she was, and when she was found she was having breathing difficulties and is now having what appears to be a P.T.S.D. reaction". (The New Yorker)


Neither is correct - to run off is to run away or leave suddenly, but it is normally used without an object.

The criminal resisted arrest and ran off.

It's better to say They ran [away] from the burning car before it exploded.

Run off can be used with an object when referring to a liquid.

The rain was running off the roof.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.