I would like to know whether 'from' can also be used instead of 'of' in the below sentence.

The children broke off large pieces of the house.

I mean what differences are made if I change that sentence into

The children broke off large pieces from the house.

That sentence is from a fairy tale - Hansel and Gretel. The house is made of chocolate so the children try to eat it, breaking it off.

1 Answer 1


I don't know where you got your information from, but as far as I know the house in the tale of Hansel and Gretel is made of gingerbread, not chocolate.

The children broke off large pieces of the house.

It is quite clear from this sentence what was broken off (pieces of house) and where it came from (the house).

The children broke off large pieces from the house.

This sentence is grammatically correct, but it seems to be missing something. The pieces obviously came from the house, but which pieces? Windows? doors? You could clarify this by saying

The children broke off large pieces of gingerbread from the house.

But why bother, when the first sentence says everything?

  • 2
    From surlalunefairytales.com/hanselgretel/notes.html#THIRTY3: Cottage was made of bread and roofed with cakes, while the window was made of transparent sugar: Note that gingerbread is not used in the description of the house, only bread. Germany's rich tradition of creating gingerbread houses and other items has caused the house to be described as gingerbread in subsequent rewritings and tellings. To read an excellent history of gingerbread as a food, visit The History of Gingerbread.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 21:32
  • I feel so grateful to you two guys - JavaLatte, ColleenV for the kind answer and comment! Thank you for the perfect explanations so much! So helpful this is. Have a nice day., JavaLatte and ColleenV ! Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 18:13

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