Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$33698

Still Needed:

$41302

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: 'out of' vs. 'off of'
Question: Why do you get ''out'' of a chair, but ''off'' of a sofa, bench, etc.? Is is
just a colloquialism, or is there a root cause? Conversely, you sit ''in''
a chair, but ''on'' a bech, sofa, stool, etc.

Reply: A lot of prepositional use is somewhat arbitrary. I suspect that originally chairs were
considered more of an enclosure (consider a large chair with arms) than a bench or
stool which was just a platform.

Over time, the architecture of the two have become more similar in many cases.

For the record though, I can sit "on" a chair as well as "in" it.

Reply From: Elizabeth J Pyatt      click here to access email
 
Date: 03-Oct-2012
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: 'out of' vs. 'off of'    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (15-Oct-2012)
  2. Re: 'out of' vs. 'off of'    Susan D Fischer     (03-Oct-2012)
  3. Re: 'out of' vs. 'off of'    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (04-Oct-2012)

Back to Most Recent Questions