I am asking this in the context of a sentence: "Why to pick this packet on the shelves of many?" Should it be 'on the shelves of many' or 'on the shelves out of many'? The second option is suggested by my English tutor. It is a sentence from a commercial and humorous write-up on the back of a food packaging

  • When it refers to the relationship between a larger group (many [shelves], here) and some "subset" thereof (one or several items; this packet, here), we usually include both prepositions when we want to focus on the sense of extracted, taken from [the larger set]. As opposed to, say, John is one of my children, where the single preposition of primarily indicates "membership of group" rather than "abstraction from [larger, containing] group". Commented May 10, 2022 at 11:13
  • ...Out of all my children, John is the one I worry about most. Commented May 10, 2022 at 11:15

1 Answer 1


In some usages like this case, out of is the more colloquial/informal, so while it is heard fairly often it would be far less likely to appear in writing. Plus your sentence is grammatically wrong, it should be

why pick this packet [out of/of] the many (others)?

But otherwise both are fine.

You can read more here

  • @DialForest Yes, it won't be 'why to pick'. The sentence mentioned is written in this way because it means that there are many brands' packets of the same product, and out of them, why should you buy this or pick this packet.
    – user324713
    Commented May 10, 2022 at 8:08
  • @user324713 i edited my answer, does it help? (Sorry i got confused about the shelf)
    – DialFrost
    Commented May 10, 2022 at 8:41

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .