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We have three daughters. The oldest just flew (from) the nest.

  1. Is "flew (from) the nest" perfectly natural when referring to moving away from home? What else would be natural to say?

  2. Would it be incorrect to add "from"?

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  • It is usually only "flew the nest" without the 'from'. Jun 10, 2021 at 14:13
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    To fly the nest / coop are relatively informal usages that don't normally include a preposition. Since they are idiomatically well-established, it would be at the very least "awkward" (but not syntactically "incorrect") to include anything like from or out of. Note that in practice, if a native speaker used that "non-standard" version, other native speakers would simply assume some slightly different meaning (perhaps a single more literal act of flying, rather than metaphorically leaving home). Jun 10, 2021 at 14:22

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I will second FumbleFingers' comment that "fly the nest" and "fly the coop" (a coop being a small pen or enclosure for birds) are idiomatically used without any preposition. It would not be strictly incorrect to add a preposition but it would not sound natural in these specific phrases.

A look at Google Ngrams shows something interesting: "Fly from the nest" used to be more common, but in recent years "fly the nest" has risen in popularity quite dramatically. "Fly the coop" emerged around 1900 and has been more common than the other two options since 1960. "Fly from the coop" is not found at all!

Google Ngrams of "fly the coop," "fly the nest," and "fly from the nest"

Changing the Ngrams search to use the past participle "flown" shows similar but even more dramatic results; "flown the coop" has been more popular since 1920.

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