Could you explain what is the difference between 'stretched off' and 'stretched out'?

stretched off

Outside the train endless fields stretched off, broken by an occasional farm building.

Outside the train the brown fields stretched off endlessly.

stretched out

Above the fields a long mass of translucent smoke lay stretched out.

A double row of stores stretched out ahead of him.

The Commuter by Philip K. Dick

  • 1
    It seems that "stretch off" implies something vast which goes far in all directions, but "stretch out" implies something narrower and sort of one-directional!
    – Cardinal
    May 21, 2020 at 17:58
  • stretch off [into the distance]
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2021 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


Stretch out is a common phrasal verb; originally it was a sort of intensified version of stretch, emphasising how far the stretching went; but I would say that today it is probably more common than plain stretch, except in the special meaning of "stretch a muscle as part of physical exercise or warm-up". So stretched out is more or less interchangeable with stretched.

Stretch off is not a phrasal verb, as far as I know. So off has its normal meaning, and stretched off means something like "stretched [out] into the distance".


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