I was talking to my teaching assistant and I told him:

You can't take us points out for no reason

with that I meant that my teaching assistant shouldn't lower us the vote of an assignment or homework without a valid reason. Is the sentence above correct? Is take out the correct verb for this context? If not or if there's a preferable one, which one is it?

  • In your sentence "us" is not the right pronoun. Did you mean to use the possessive pronoun "our"?
    – Andrew
    Nov 3, 2016 at 21:19
  • @Andrew I meant "from us", if that makes more sense.
    – user9470
    Nov 3, 2016 at 21:21
  • "Take away" or "penalize" are better choices. But the more serious problem is that the syntax of your sentence is garbled. Firstly, you can't usually separate a phrasal verb like take out; you would have to say "You can't take out..." Also, us is not correct here, because points belonging to us are our points, not "us points". Or you could reorder the whole sentence, so it's like "You can't take away points from us".
    – stangdon
    Nov 3, 2016 at 21:24
  • @stangdon Now that you mentioned these new verbs, they also sound better to me. Moreover, I asked this question also because I didn't like the structure of the sentence, it didn't feel so natural indeed.
    – user9470
    Nov 3, 2016 at 21:29
  • Looks like you're adhering to German syntactical rules with your use of the pronoun ("... take us points out ..."). We do things differently in English.
    – Robusto
    Nov 3, 2016 at 21:29

1 Answer 1


You can't take points from us for no reason.

You can't [take off points / take points off] for no reason

You can't take our points for no reason.

You can't [take away points / take points away] (from us) for no reason.

You can't penalize us (by taking away points) for no reason

These are all valid variations on what you want to say. There are probably more.

I don't think "out" is the most natural preposition to use with "take" in this context -- "off", or "away" are better -- but I get what you are trying to say.

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