What is the difference between saying jump out and jump off.

  • Today, in the morning , I saw a man jump off the car.

  • Today, in the morning, I saw a man jump out the car.

And is there any difference between “out of the car” and “out the car”?

  • Did you start out in the car or on (top of) the car?
    – The Photon
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 16:55
  • For completeness, don't forget "jump start the car". Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 18:07

3 Answers 3


jump out of means to leap from a place which is understood to be (or to belong to) an enclosure of some kind.

He jumped out of the wagon.

He jumped out of the car.

He jumped out of the window.

to jump off means to leap from a place which is understood to be a platform of some kind.

He jumped off the dock.

He jumped off the diving board.

He jumped off the ledge.

He jumped off the steps of the train.

It is possible for the same thing to be understood by one person as an enclosure and by another person as a platform. train is a good example of that. One person might have in mind the steps of the train and say off while another person might have in mind the enclosure of the train car and say out of.

"To jump out the window" is standard but "to jump out the train" is regional. Standard is "jump out of the train". That may have to do with the difference between an aperture and an enclosure. We go out or out of an aperture but out of an enclosure; we don't go out an enclosure.

  • 3
    Though as you can 'get off the bus/train' (but not 'get off the car'), 'he jumped off the bus/train' would actually be more natural than 'he jumped out of the bus/train' (and have roughly the same meaning as 'he jumped out of the car')
    – abligh
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 14:54
  • 6
    @abligh: I think there would be a nuanced difference. If I say "he jumped off the train", I'd think he got off through the normal exit, but quickly. "He jumped out of the train" would make me think he jumped out of a window or some other non-usual exit.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 19:03
  • 12
    I would add that "jump off the car" is perfectly correct but would usually mean you are jumping from on top of the car, rather than from inside the car. Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 23:40
  • 6
    Trains and busses are odd in english in that you get into a car but you get on the bus or on the train. The stuntman move of jumping out of a car could equivalently (and not uncommonly) be expressed for trains and busses as jumping off the bus or jumping off the train. You'd have to be more specific if you meant to convey that the person was originally actually on-top-of the bus or train.
    – J...
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 14:30
  • 1
    @abligh - "Though as you can 'get off the bus/train' (but not 'get off the car')..." I think that's because buses and trains have specific locations (within themselves) from which you leave them, e.g., there is a platform of sorts (not the one you step out onto, but inside the carriage) that you step off. Fascinating stuff. Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 16:28

If you get in something, then you jump out of it. If you get on something, then you jump off of it. I have to disagree with @Tᴚoɯɐuo because it isnt' a question of whether something is enclosed. What matters is whether you stand or sit. Consider a canoe and a train. A person sits in a canoe even though it is not enclosed and when a horsefly attacks the person jumps out of the canoe (as I once did). Meanwhile a person gets on a train even though it is enclosed and jumps off a train.

@jamesqf makes a good point about trains and planes. You can jump out of a train if you go through a window rather than the normal exit. I don't have a good explanation for this. I suspect this may be because you have to go into a non-standing position to jump out a train window. As for a plane, again I'm not sure.

  • 1
    If you can get in it, it is an enclosure of some kind. You say: "What matters is whether you stand or sit". Do you sit in a box, or stand? Do you sit in a prison cell, or stand? Your posture makes no difference.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 12:33
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo Yes, but just because you can physically get into something does not mean that, in normal English, that you use those words to mean that. You would never say, of your morning commute, "I got in the bus this morning" - that's just wrong. You would always say "I got on the bus this morning".
    – J...
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 14:33
  • 3
    @J: It's not "just wrong" to say "I got in the bus". Mathletes! Stop joking around and get in the bus! It is possible to refer to the action in different ways. Of a morning commute, you get on the bus. But if you're actually describing the physical fact of entering the carriage, in is perfectly acceptable. The impatient teacher in my example wants the students in the bus and seated, so they can leave for the math competition.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 14:36
  • 1
    @Tᴚoɯɐuo I've never heard anyone say, nor read anyone write, "Get in the bus". I like your answer - just this one assertion seems odd to me. It might be regional. Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 16:53
  • 1
    @Readin I suppose that might work; however, I haven't spoken to anyone about such a situation, so I've never encountered it in a real life context ;)
    – Doktor J
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 19:24

If he jumps off the car, he must be standing or sitting on the outside. For old cars with running boards this might be normal where someone is stood on the running board, but with a modern car this would be unusual. He might be standing on the roof, hood or trunk, vandalising the car by jumping on it. Possibly he might be sitting on the hood or trunk - in that case jump is less likely to be used because getting down from there is not really a jump, but it wouldn't be completely unexpected. Where you would never see this used is when he is sitting inside the car.

If he jumps out of the car (or out the car, which is a shortened version more common in America; you wouldn't usually find Brits using this) then he must be inside it. This is what you would usually use for someone who is a driver or a passenger.

By the way too, you wouldn't usually "Today, in the morning" - you'd usually just say either "today" if you don't need to say when it was, or "this morning" if you want to be more detailed. You wouldn't use both (because it's a tautology), and you certainly would never say "in the morning" here.

"In the morning" is used for something you would do every (or most) mornings, as a general statement. So perhaps: "On the morning, I often drink coffee." It's unusual to use this to refer to a specific morning, especially if it's the morning of the current, previous or next day, which would be "this morning", "yesterday morning" or "tomorrow morning".

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