Confusing words: OF vs.OFF

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When questions about confusing words arise in class, the teachers at WELCOME TO ENGLISH always try to do their best to answer properly our students’ questions. We would also like to share with you, the rest of our students and the ones that read our blog, just in case you need it for the EOI or Cambridge exams.

In this case we are going to have a look at the differences between of and off. To start with there is a difference in the pronunciation of these words (check word reference) but we are going to focus on the most common uses of of and off.

So, the main use of “of” is to describe possession or relationship between a part and a whole and it is a preposition.


relationship:  North of the lake, throne of gold, cup of water

possession: king of England

On the other hand off can be an adverb, a preposition, verb, etc.It has various meanings including at a distance, moving away from, unsatisfactory and remove.


  X  We will inform you off any changes

  V   We will inform you of any changes

X  Please turn of all the lights before leaving the room.

  V  Please turn off all the lights before leaving the room.

 X  Two off our team members will take tomorrow of.

V  Two of our team members will take tomorrow off.


There are also situations when you use both of them together but normally we can omit of in these cases. For example, of can be removed from each of these sentences:

-Sarah was nearly pulled off of the bike by the muggers.

–   Take it off of the table.

– That is the shop just off of the main street.

So, to summarize, the two words differ in the following areas:

  • of is mostly used as a preposition
  • off is usually used as an adverb
  • of is more often used in sentences while off is used less frequently
  • off is used in conjunction with verbs which is not the case of “of”.


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