of and off


These two simple words are often used incorrectly. My students both English and non-English are sometimes tripped up by these two.

The sound of them is different, and this can help you choose the right one.

Watch the video below or read on. There's a spelling test after.



of sounds like "ov" with a soft 'v' sound. It's usually very unstressed, quickly pronounced and usually swallowed up by other words and hard to hear. (You can listen for this on the video). 

There are many uses of of.

A cup of tea.       The toilet is out of order.    A lot of people. 

I've got lots of problems.   A bunch of flowers.  This bag is made of leather.

Some of my friends are vegetarian.  Some people are afraid of dogs.

What's the point of this exercise? 

Of course not.   

In the middle of ...

A shortage of...

A pair of...

A sort of...

The beginning of...

A slice of

When you listen to the video check out my pronunciation of of and listen to how the consonant before the of slides into and joins the of "a cupov tea" "the pointov" "a lotov" "afraidov"


off is a stronger sound with a hard 'f'.  on and off

We usually use off with a verb to make phrasal verbs =
verb + off - take off, put off, run off, taking off, ran off,  get off (all have different meanings in different situations. Check in a good dictionary or phrasal verb dictionary for all the possible meanings.)

Get off the bus.   Take off the plaster.  

Turn off.  Off and on.   Turn off at the next exit.

Switch off the light.

The plane took off on time.

He ran off.

Get off.

Put off.  


*CAREFUL. The sound 'ov' is like the short form 've (have) and many people confuse them and put of instead of 've.

I should've = I should have (NOT 'I should of')

You would've = You would have (NOT 'You would of')

I could've = I could have (not 'I could of')



The podcast spelling test.

First I'll go over the pronunciation of of and off. Then we'll do a dictation spelling test.

There are 11 sentences. I'll repeat them 4 times. I'll say them fast at first then slower. If you're not sure of the spelling then just try the beginning or ending.

Don't worry about mistake  - mistakes are good if we learn from them.

spelling tests

Fill in the gaps with "of" or "off"

1. How do you turn this computer ______?

2. Do you want a cup ______tea or coffee?

3. I've got lots ______problems.

4. I can't put ______ arranging another driving test any longer, I don't know why I'm afraid ______doing the test again.

5. Thanks for the lift, you can drop me ______just here.

6.  There are a lot ______business opportunities in London.

7. You should have turned ______ the motorway at junction eight now we have to get ______ at the next one.

8. What's the point ______ this exercise?

9. I bought a lovely big bunch ______ flowers for two pounds/ £2.

10. I've got an appointment at 9 but I should have made it for the afternoon because I have loads ______ things to do in the morning.



Answers

1. How do you turn this computer off?

2. Do you want a cup of tea or coffee?

3. I've got lots of problems.

4. I can't put off arranging another driving test any longer, I don't know why I'm afraid of doing the test again.

5. Thanks for the lift, you can drop me off just here.

6.  There are a lot of business opportunities in London.

7. You should have turned off the motorway at junction eight now we have to get off at the next one.

8. What's the point of this exercise?

9. I bought a lovely big bunch of flowers for two pounds/ £2.

10. I've got an appointment at 9 but I should have made it for the afternoon because I have loads of things to do in the morning.