The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2016 Fund Drive.
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|