I'm trying to understand meaning of chorus of the song "Tegan And Sara - Shudder to think". It goes: "Shudder to think that I'd find my company off on standby". I'm interested in second part of this sentence. I knew what "on standby" means. I tried to google "company off", "off on standby" in case it's some idiom but I found nothing. So please explain me what does "my company off on standby" means.

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    The words company off aren't syntactically related in this context. The basic underlying statement is My company is on standby, where the highlighted adverbial element just means ready [to act upon orders]. But there's nothing wrong with introducing that second preposition off, which implies spomething along the lines of away [from where the speaker is]. You'll see the same usage in contexts like We're going off on holiday tomorrow - where again, off is optional, equivalent to the alternative possibility ...going away on holiday. Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 18:24
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    ...by the way, I'm a native speaker with a degree in literature, but I don't know what "my company is [off] on standby" means. Feasibly it's somehow related to usages like My TV is on standby, but that doesn't seem likely given off (because TV's don't physically move). But I can't tell whether my company is some sort of metaphorical reference to the people in my military unit / under my command, or an unusual way of saying my companionship. Not really a text for learners to spend time on, I suggest. Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 18:31

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I had to look up the lyrics to the song as I haven't heard it, but it looks like the whole song is about considering life without your love being reflected back to you.

"Off on standby" in this case reads to me like switching a TV off by the button on the remote control. It's no longer on for you, but it is "waiting" to be turned back on. So if your companion is turned off on standby to you, you are in the heart-rending situation where they are no longer responding to you, but could potentially be turned on by someone else.

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    Wow, it's very interesting metaphor!
    – Sherstnyov
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 16:24
  • Isn't it just! I'm not saying that's the definitive meaning, mind - but I do feel that's what they were after.
    – kaipmdh
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 16:37

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