I don't know why dictionaries only have this structure

turn somebody <-> off

  1. ​to make somebody feel bored or not interested
  • People had been turned off by both candidates in the election.

The thing is that that structure can not give us freedom to express more complicated idea.

Ok, say Mary's cooking method (she uses a lot of oil and fry a lot) makes me feel I don't want to eat her food.

Do we have structure "somebody/something turns somebody off something"?

For example, "Her cooking style turns me off her food"

Or do we have to say "Her cooking style turns my love of her food off"

Note: I still like her in every way. It's just that I don't like her food.

So, if we say "her cooking style turns me off", it may make people think that I don't like her as a whole (her character, her clothes her food, etc).

  • 3
    Saying "Her cooking style turns my love of her food off" doesn't make sense because it sounds like you do or did love her food. Also, we say "turns a person off something", not turns their love of something off.
    – stangdon
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can use the construction something turns somebody off something.

The verb 'turn off' is a transitive separable multi-word verb, meaning that you can place the direct object between the words and use an indirect object. For this answer, I am referring to the meaning of 'dislike' (and not 'switch off'). For the usage you are asking about, it generally means that a specific example of something has had a wider negative impact that extends beyond that instance. For example:

  • Her cooking turned me off Italian food forever.
  • Preparing for that exam turned me off language study for years.
  • My father ate some spoiled beef once and it turned him off meat.
  • Do you think we need "to" after "off", for example, "Her cooking turned me off to Italian food forever."? I saw this example "I know that the accident really turned Janet off to driving on the highway." in the dictionary ( idioms.thefreedictionary.com/turned+me+off).
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 23:38
  • 2
    I find the inclusion of to in that sentence strange; I wonder if it's a typo. (It would be more logical to use from, but we don't normally include it.) Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 10:57
  • @KateBunting, Interesting! So, if we use "turn somebody off", we need "from", right? However, if we use "turn somebody on", we need "to" right? For example, "Her cooking turned me on to Italian food"?
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 13:42
  • Wrong! I said that we don't normally include ['from'], though it would be more logical than 'to' in this case. Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 15:30
  • We don't need either 'to' or 'from' in this specific construction.
    – kandyman
    Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 17:04

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