What's the difference in meaning and usage between

to get a present from someone


to get a present off someone

1 Answer 1


To my ear off in that sense is non-standard. The OED says of this sense " Now chiefly colloquial".

It is certainly common in some British colloquial varieties (I'm not sure about outside Britain), but I would not say it.

As far as I can tell it means exactly the same as from.

  • As an American English speaker, I was not familiar with the colloquialism. "I got a present off someone" could also mean that I sought and took a present from someone (maybe that person didn't intend to give it to me). Like how Gollum got his "birthday present".
    – nschneid
    Aug 6, 2023 at 19:15
  • I seem to remember a time when it was used more often than it is today - as regards a present. But people still speak of acquiring (buying) things "off the internet", "off a stall in the market place", "off a friend", or "off the back of a lorry" (euphemism for stealing).
    – WS2
    Aug 6, 2023 at 20:27
  • Where I grew up, you could ask someone "Who did you get it off of?" meaning, "Who gave you that?" or "How did you come by that?" But it wouldn't be used of a birthday present, but of something the speaker assumes was given ad hoc under some unusual circumstances, perhaps in a swap, or because you won it in a bet. Aug 7, 2023 at 11:58
  • 1
    @WS2 - if you got something off the back of a lorry, it was very often sold to you cheaply by someone who had themselves stolen it or received it from e.g. a gang. Aug 7, 2023 at 15:13
  • I once saw, in Tesco, him off Corrie, you know, the one who plays Roy Cropper. This actually happened. Aug 7, 2023 at 15:20

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