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Would you tell me if there is any difference in meaning between go off of something and go from something in the sense of making a decision based on something? For example:

I'm not sure if the baggage will fit into the trunk, but you can give me the baggage's measurement and we'll go off of there/go from there.

Are both perfectly natural in the context?

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  • 1
    Be aware that "off of" is dialect. Not all English speakers use it. Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 7:43

2 Answers 2

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"go from there" can refer to any discussion where the details are unknown and still to be clarified.

  • Tell me what colors you like, and we can go from there. [decide on a product or thing.]

"go off something", besides the meaning of to stop taking some drug or other, means to start with a specific measurement as the first step.

"The mapmakers were going off [usually expressed as working off or going by] the surveyor's numbers as they had not taken their own readings".

However, with the bag and the trunk (boot in British English), it would not be used. Give me the measurements and we'll go from there. Or: We'll go by those numbers.

  • We're going by the numbers you gave us. Go by a number or description is much more usual than off which almost sounds wrong.
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The two do not mean the same thing, and only "go from" is correct in that context.

To "go from there" means to use that as a starting point. In this case, it means we'll start with the measurements of the piece of baggage to determine whether it will fit in the trunk.

To "go off of X" means to use X as an alternative basis for reference. It's used when the ideal or correct basis is unavailable. For example:

I don't know my wife's measurements, but this shirt fits her, so we can go off of that.

This means, my wife isn't here to measure, but measuring this shirt might be close enough.

In your example, the ideal basis is the piece of baggage itself, which they have, so "go off of" doesn't make sense.

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  • Not an alternative basis. The basis.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 22:19
  • @Lambie Hrm? Do you think my example is wrong or that the goal is to measure her shirt, rather than her body?
    – gotube
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 0:38
  • In your measurement example, "we can go by that" seems more natural to me.
    – John Douma
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 1:38
  • @JohnDouma The OP is asking about usage of "go off of".
    – gotube
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 2:09

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