I read this sentence in a story:"She leaned over to pick Bella's teddy bear off the floor." I would like to ask if I change "off the floor" to " from the floor" would there be any change in the meaning of the sentence.

  • 2
    "from the floor" sounds a bit formal, "up from the floor" sounds better to me Commented May 12, 2021 at 19:12
  • There would be no change in meaning. Commented May 12, 2021 at 19:15
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    @learner Your model sentence could also idiomatically insert up after pick. We usually pick things up, whether from the floor or off the floor. Pick it up is an established expression, when referring to an object lying on the floor/ground. When it comes to fruit, we simply pick it unless we are picking it up from/off the ground. Commented May 12, 2021 at 19:16

1 Answer 1


No, there is no change in meaning.

Different prepositions are appropriate to different contexts. As a very general rule, we would say we took something "off" a surface (that is, if one thing is on top of the other), and "from" within something else.

For example:

  • I took my hat from the wardrobe.
  • I took my hat off my head.

It would sound strange if you said "I took my hat off the wardrobe" if it was inside and not on top of it.

However, some things could be regarded as a surface and a location - the 'floor' being one example - so it doesn't really matter if you use 'off' or 'from' in this case.

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