Away and Off

Away shows distance.

When something is away, it is at a distance.

The sea is two miles away.

Stay away! (= Stay at a distance.)

Keep the papers away from the fire.

Take these papers away. (= Remove them.)

I live far away. (= I live far from here.)

Away can also mean continuously.

We chatted away for over an hour.

The children are working away at their lessons.

Away can also indicate loss or disappearance.

The snow melted away.

The water has all boiled away.

The sound of music died away.

Right away means at once.

Do it right away. (= Do it at once.)

Far and away = very much

He is far and away the best runner in the country.


Off can mean away.

He fell off the ladder. (= He fell away from the ladder.)

Keep off the grass. (= Keep away from the grass.)

They ran off when the police arrived. (= They ran away when the police arrived.)

Off can also mean not on or no longer on.

Her glasses fell off. (= Her glasses are no longer on her nose.)

He took his clothes off. (= His clothes are no longer on him.)

When something is off, it is not working or operating.

The heating is off. (= The heating is not working.)

She switched the lights off.

Off has several other meanings too.

Will you take 5% off the price if I pay cash? (= Will you reduce the price by 5% if I pay cash?)

Expressions with off

Off one’s food

When somebody is off their food, they have no appetite.

When somebody is off their head, they have gone mad.

Well off and badly off

They are well off. = They are rich.

They are badly off. = They are not rich.

Offhand = without previous thought or preparation.

I can’t say offhand.