In Ricky Gervais Show, Monkey News section, Karl was talking about a monkey which

... sat on a bridge and wanted stuff off people to walk over the bridge.

From the context especially with the demanding face of the monkey in the cartoon, I can assume the monkey was asking people to give him things because apparently it was honding an upper hand and people had no choice but to do so, although I seem to fail to back it up in a reliable source.

Considering the fact that Karl is from Manchester, could it be regional English, or am I totally wrong and want off simply mean want from, in that case I'd be happy to know the difference in meaning.

1 Answer 1


off (of) is a colloquial variant of from.

It's a real leather one and it's heavy and hurts your foot when you kick it. Our Barry and his mates took it to the park to play with it but some big boys took it off them and started playing with it and me Dad had to go to the park to get it back off them.

from Polishing the Stones (2002). An anthology of new writing from North West Ireland.

off (of) is widely used. But see offen which is a regional dialect form.

P.S. The phrase is used also where I grew up. There can be the sense that what is "taken off someone" is not freely parted with by them.

But it can be neutral:

The EMT took his phone off him and put it in a safe place.

The preposition from also has a neutral (non-violent) sense:

She took the book from him. She received the book from his hand

She took the book from him. She wrested the book from him

To get something off (of) someone can also be neutral:

She's got a leather jacket. She got it off her brother. He works in the tannery at Whaley Bridge.

or it too can have the meaning of "wrest".

  • I thought maybe off has some roughness, violence, or force to it, becuase I often hear things like "The shark took a bite off the boat" or in your example taking it off. As I see then it's just the colloquial equivalence of from. +1 I'll wait a bit longer to see what else might come up.
    – Yuri
    Jul 10, 2018 at 13:15
  • @Yuri: I've added a P.S.
    – TimR
    Jul 10, 2018 at 13:39

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