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I'm not a native English speaker. We have some discussion about spoken English.

A. (The dog ran out) / (of the office).
B. (The dog ran) / (out of the office).

I know A and B have the same meaning, but I wonder where you native speakers would make a break when saying the sentence: like A. or B.?. What is your choice?

Situation is
A building was on fire and a dog ran out of the building.

In this sentence, is it
A. The dog ran out / of the office.
→ ran(verb), out(adverb), of the office (prepositional phrase)

or
B. The dog ran / out of the office.
→ ran(verb), out of the office (complex preposition)

Which is right?

  • If the office supplied a product called "dog", someone hearing A could think it meant something else. ;-) – Damkerng T. Jan 10 '15 at 6:36
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    What is the 'problem' that you have much discussion about? This is not a chat forum, so you need to list a specific problem that you have with the sentences, so that we can give you a specific answer. – user6951 Jan 10 '15 at 7:12
  • @carsmack some say A is correct in grammar, or some say B is correct in grammar. Which is correct exactly? and which do native speakers more use? – Dasik Jan 10 '15 at 7:17
  • The firefighters ran into the office, the dog ran out of the office. Both are prepositions. – user6951 Jan 10 '15 at 18:32
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A. The dog ran out / of the office.
B. The dog ran / out of the office.

A is, at best, poorly worded.

If out is an adverb, it means outside, as in 'The boys played outside of the office'. Thus: 'The dog ran (ran around/exercised) out of the office.' The dog did not exit the office. The dog is already out, running.

So, your sentence should be parsed:
'The dog / ran / out / of the office.'

This is similar to

'The dog went out of the office.'

Again with out as an adverb, the dog is not exiting the office. It means the dog 'went' (urinated/did its duty) out of the office, as opposed to in the office.

To show that out is not an adverb your sentence, consider when out is an adverb, it can change position in the sentence. The following are both fine, with out as an adverb:

'I opened the door and the dog ran out.'

'I opened the door and out ran the dog.'

However, to show that 'out' in the following is not an adverb, but part of the compound preposition, try to move out as we did before.

I opened the door and the dog ran out of the office. (out of is a preposition)

*I opened the door and out ran the dog of the office.

Here, 'of the office' has become part of the noun phrase 'the dog of the office', so the sentence has changed meaning. Out is not an adverb in your sentence.

By changing 'of' to 'from' the sentence takes on new meaning, and also a different verb:

We have the prepositional verb run out. This is not the same as the verb 'run' followed by the adverb 'out'. Rather it is a lexical unit which consists of the verb 'run' and the preposition 'out'. The prepositional verb can be followed by a prepositional phrase.

Examples:
The dog 'ran out' the door.
The dog 'ran out' from under the bed. (From under is a compound preposition.)

A subject / verb / prepositional phrase
A1 The dog / ran out / from the office.
A2 The dog / ran out / from under the bed.

The verb run out is intransitive here.

Let's look at B.
Out of is another compound preposition. So the sentence is

B subject / verb / prepositional phrase
B The dog / ran / out of the office.

The verb run is intransitive here.

Run can be transitive:

Bt The dog / ran / the cat / out of the office.
subject / verb / dir object / prep phrase

Note: here run means to force.

There is a C version, which uses the verb run out of.

This verb is transitive and means to 'use up' or 'reach the end of the supply of'.

C subject / verb / direct object
C1 The dog / ran out of / food.
C2 The dog / ran out of / energy.

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The best way to test these is to turn the sentences around:

Of the office, the dog ran out.

and

Out of the office, the dog ran.

The second is understandable but obviously not the standard way of saying it. The first is meaningless.

'Ran' here is the main verb. We could say 'The dog ran into the office' without changing the basic 'idea' of the sentence.

Compare:

Of the product, the office ran out.

and

Out of the product, the office ran.

The first is understandable but not the standard way of saying it. The second is meaningless.

'Ran out' here is a phrasal verb. We can't say 'The office ran into the product' without changing the basic 'idea' of the sentence.

How are A and B any different in grammar? They are the same words in the same order. Do you mean 'How do native speakers 'understand' the grammar of these sentences?'? I think that many native speakers have never stopped to think about the difference, but they intuitively 'know' the difference.

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I think the essence of your question is that it could be done either way, which way would WE do it?

Personally, I would go about it this way:

The building was on fire and a dog ran out of it.

because,

A building was on fire, a dog ran out of it.

seems to demand additional information to make the sentence work correctly.

For example: What building? What is the object of the sentence? What point are you (or your sentence), trying to make? And so on.

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