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Can “don’t jump on the couch” mean “don’t jump off the couch,” or does it only mean “don’t jump onto the couch”?

How to recommend someone be on the couch and then jump? I think there’s no word like “onfrom” in English.

According to what I found, I can use “I jumped from on the couch,” but I don’t know it’s idiomatic.

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  • The word for "onfrom" is actually off, as in "Now jump off the boat!"
    – stangdon
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 3:20
  • @stangdon But I want to distinguish among “infrom,” “onfrom,” “overfrom,” “byfrom,” etc.
    – user139746
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 3:30
  • /@user0038 All you'll need then, is a dictionary for the language that has all those words. Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 4:08
  • 1
    @Jack O’Flaherty Haha, nice joke.
    – user139746
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 4:28
  • @user0038 You would have to explain what you mean by "overfrom" or "byfrom" or whatever.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 11:30

1 Answer 1

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Prepositions are difficult.

“I jumped from on the couch" is understandable, but not idiomatic.

Let's take a look at the things you might want to say to a naughty child.

  1. the child is bouncing up and down on the couch. You could say

don’t jump up and down on the couch - completely unambiguous
don’t jump around on the couch - clear
don’t jump on the couch - reasonably clear

The last one is valid because they are on the couch and they are jumping

  1. The child is jumping from somewhere else onto the couch. You could say

don’t jump onto the couch - completely unambiguous
don’t jump on the couch - reasonably clear

The last one is valid because on can mean onto

  1. The child is jumping from the couch to somewhere else. You could say:

don’t jump off on the couch - completely unambiguous
don’t jump on the couch - just about possible

The last one is valid because they are on the couch before they jump off it.

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