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There are two sentences below

  1. He gazed out the window.
  2. He gazed out of the window.

What is the difference between the two expressions in meaning? Please, tell me.

  • There is no practical difference in meaning. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 5 '18 at 19:32
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    It can be argued that |gaze out| is a phrasal verb and gaze [out of window] is a verb plus a prepositional phrase. The distinction is only important because there are sentences like this: They gazed out over the plain from the mountaintop. But practically speaking, your sentences have the same meaning here. – Lambie Mar 5 '18 at 19:45
  • As the other two commenters said, they mean the same thing but the first sentence is better. – Readin Mar 6 '18 at 4:23
  • @Lambie, that argument is a bit of a stretch, as gaze out wouldn't take a direct object like that. But it's worth mentioning as it's a similar-looking sentence constructed in a different way. – Toby Speight Mar 6 '18 at 15:24
  • @TobySpeight It isn't a stretch at all because gaze out the window describes looking at something outside whereas "gazing out of the window" implies an inside space from which the gazing is being done. Practically, there is no difference but there could be a difference. The cow was gazing out of its stall as we went by. Not: the cow was gazing out the stall. You see? – Lambie Mar 6 '18 at 16:35
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There is very little difference; one of them has a more formal register than the other.

In Britain, we normally use the preposition phrase "out of", and that's accepted in formal English. In informal use, some dialects regularly omit the "of", and it is understood in context. I don't recommend this form when you are writing.

Other regions appear to have this distinction reversed.

As an alternative, you could also consider, "He gazed through the window", but that is slightly different, as that can mean gazing in to rather than out of.

  • In my dialect, "out of" would be regarded as an artifact associated with a lower less-educated economic class. In that pitcher, I'm lookin' outta the window. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 6 '18 at 22:48
  • Interesting - here (UK), that would be true of a phrase such as "off of", but "out of" is as standard as "away from". I think I need to modify this answer in the light of your comment - thank you! – Toby Speight Mar 7 '18 at 8:26

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