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        List of guides     

New guides will be added to the list as they become available

Basic Written English
by Bill Ball, Rhea Williams & Tony Scott
Basic Written English (Part 2)
Basic Written English (Part 3)

Business (formal) Writing
by Sidney Callis
Business (formal) Writing Part 2
Business (formal) Writing Part 3
Business (formal) Writing Part 4

Punctuation Guide
by Dr Bernard Lamb

The Double Negative
by Bill Ball and Tony Scott

Grammatical Attraction
by Bill Ball

The Hyphen Puzzle
by Bill Ball
The Hyphen Puzzle Part 2

....'Get off of my cloud'
by Douglas Hitchman

Verbless Sentences
by Bill Ball

My Husband And I
by Ted Bell

Substitute and Replace
by Ted Bell

Causative theme in English
by David Wulstan

Balancing correlative conjunctions 
by Bill Ball

Clause analysis
By Bill Ball

        The QES Helpful Guides To English        

                                     Beware of 'OFF OF!'                                   


On the 30th November 1965, Rock legends - 
The Rolling Stones
 - released their memorable hit 'HEY! YOU GET OFF OF MY CLOUD.' Did they unwittingly start a trend in the way many of us now speak some forty five years on?

(Note: if you select the link above, to listen to the track, simply close the tab at the top of the page and you will return to this article.)

If I could have my way....         By Douglas Hitchman

It could be argued that the Rolling Stones had a valid excuse for writing the lyric "Hey! You! Get off of my cloud" to fit the music, but I have noticed over several years that the practice of adding 'of' to the adverb 'off' has increased considerably.

I find that this really grates with me and I wince whenever I hear it spoken, for it usually is spoken, seldom written. "She fell off of her horse"; "He got off of the train" to my mind would sound so much better if the 'of' were to be dropped.

Less common is the addition of 'from' following 'off' as in "I wish you would leave off from doing that", but in my mind no less clunky in usage.

Taken to an extreme, I suppose, one could make an "off of colour remark" or " go off of duty", or perhaps even "go off from duty", but here we enter the realms of absurdity - I hope.

Another misuse of 'of' occurs to me, and that is the use of "should of", "could of", "would of" etc. though this is more likely to be mispronunciation of the contracted "should've", "could've" and so on. Phonetically they are similar.

I believe that the practice has its origins in the United States of America which, I suppose is no surprise.

There are many such anomalies dotted throughout the English language and they doubtless may be ascribed to the inevitable and inexorable evolution of the language.

All I would ask is that people should listen and mark such digressions, and in so doing make a mental note to use correct English where ever possible.

During the process of setting up this page, we came across some variants of the song title mentioned above including: '.....Get Off From My Cloud' and '.....Get Offa My Cloud.'