Idiolect or more widespread?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue May 30 19:02:15 UTC 2006

>On May 29, 2006, at 2:54 PM, i wrote:
>>... two different issues here: "based off" in alternation with
>>"based on/
>>upon", and plain "off" in alternation with "off of".
>>... the second is certainly not recent.  ... MWDEU judges it to be
>>"primarily a form used in speech", but some of their cites are from
>>elevated written contexts, and some kinds of examples seem entirely
>>natural to me ...
>>... the umbrellas are pretty, but they won't actually keep the rain
>>off you.  or off of
>(as it happens, i prefer the "off of" version in that last sentence.)
>correspondents note that some people use the "of" variant very
>heavily, maybe all the time.  that would put it in the same box (for
>these speakers) as the Ps that require "of" in standard english:
>because of the storm, *because the storm, instead of that hat,
>*instead that hat, in front/back of the house, *in front/back the
>house, *outside John 'other than John', outside of John [in this

somehow, this reminds me of the Groucho Marx aperçu:

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.  Inside of a dog,
it's too dark to read."


The American Dialect Society -

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