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I read an example of come off in the free dictionary.com. It was:

What time does the party come off?

So I figued this phrasal verb could be used with other events like marriage, meetings, competetitions, trips etc.

But 'take place' is often used with all these events meaning 'to happen', e.g.:

The concert takes place next Thursday. (Cambridge)

Come off also has one meaning which is 'to happen':

Please see the following examples -

  1. Is the meeting going to come off today?
  2. Is the meeting going to take place today?

Do you think the phrasal verbs come off and take place are interchangeable in the above examples?

Or would it make any difference if we did that?

  • Are you sure that The Free Dictionary includes that example? "What time does the party come off?" Because I couldn't find it. To me, come off is about "how" it happens, rather than "when" it happens. – Damkerng T. Oct 24 '14 at 9:21
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    As a North American speaker, I've never heard come off used that way. – 200_success Oct 24 '14 at 9:22
  • Yes i am very sure of dat. As a matter of fact i looked up the meaning in another dictionary which happens to have the same example McGrew-Hills Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs (Richard A Spears, Ph.d) You'll find the same example there. – Leo Oct 24 '14 at 9:38
  • A related question at ELU.SE – CowperKettle Nov 29 '14 at 4:44
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The phrasal verb "come off" is listed to mean to take place/happen not only in the Free Dictionary but also in other dictionaries (Oxford, Macmillan, Cambridge, etc.) with examples similar to those mentioned by the PO.

Accordingly, I don't find any difference in meaning of "come off and take place" except that (per these dictionaries) "come off" is informal and "take place" is common both in spoken and written English. Being a non-native speaker, I have no idea of how much the phrase come off is common or popular with native speakers.

So it's correct to say that "Is the meeting going to take place or come off today?" Likewise, they are interchangeable in the examples mentioned in the question. However, I don't think it is proper to use come off for something that happens/take place by chance/accident or without being planned such as a car accident, a plane crash, etc.

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    I'm a native speaker of American English. I see it in dictionaries including Macmillan sense 5 to happen "Another competition is coming off in the summer.", so I guess it's a real thing, but I'm not familiar with it. It looks like it might be an older phrase...? – snailboat Oct 24 '14 at 11:34
  • The examples I was able to find were mostly old, maybe from around 100-150 years ago: here on Google Books, for example. I'll also include a screen shot because my Google Books link didn't work for Damkerng in chat: i.stack.imgur.com/vuaiZ.png – snailboat Oct 24 '14 at 11:42
  • "Come off" implies success in an endeavour, rather than merely taking place. "Did the merger come off ok?" – Jon Story Oct 24 '14 at 12:35
  • @JonStory Dictionaries list that meaning separately. I don't think it's the one we're talking about here. – snailboat Oct 24 '14 at 13:33
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As a native speaker, "come off" is highly informal and, while I don't have citations for this, sounds very British. If I were to use that construction in America I would be more likely to say "go off", but personally I also tend to be more formal, and I would say "take place" in almost any situation.

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So it's correct to say that "Is the meeting going to take place or come off today?" Likewise, they are interchangeable in the examples mentioned in the question. However, I don't think it is proper to use come off for something that happens/take place by chance/accident or without being planned such as a car accident, a plane crash, etc.

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To "come off" suggests "works", "happens", "takes place" etc but incorporating the notion that the task's instigator has a vested interest in it doing so. Will the bank heist come off? It seems related to "pull off". Will he pull off his stunt?

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