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Odds and Ends—“Off Of” and Like vs. As

We’ve got a few grammar elements for your nerdy pleasure today: a discussion of whether you need to use “of” in the phrase “off of”; as well as clarification about using “like” or “as.” So, first things first:

Is it bad grammar to use “off of”?

In general, if a preposition is unnecessary, cut it from your writing.

Examples:

Where did you get this phone at?

Where did he go to?

Contrary to the old rules, it is sometimes okay to end a sentence with a preposition, but the “at” and the “go” in these examples are superfluous, and the meaning of each question is quite clear without them. The same goes for “off of.” There’s no need for “of” in the following sentence: Don’t jump off of the bed.

Should I Use “Like” or “As” When Making Comparisons?

Use “like” to compare two nouns:

This program is just like the one that was canceled last year.

The cats, like their owner, prefer warm spots in the sunshine.

Use “as” to compare clauses:

Just as positive reinforcement can encourage good behavior, negative reinforcement can encourage bad behavior.

Ralph swam laps as if he were drowning.

To help you remember, “like” is a simple word used in everyday dialogue, so it should be followed by a simple noun. (The coffee tastes like mud.) “As” is more formal, so it should be followed by a clause that contains a noun and a verb. (The painting looks as I expected it would.)

Questions? Don’t let grammar get you down. Let Writer’s Relief proofreaders help!

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