Is it ‘based on’ or ‘based off’?

Regular prepositions used with verbs base was ABOVE or above for a long time (“based on the novel”, “based on their research”). In recent decades turn off or off of has also been used with the same meaning (“based on their experience”, “based on a book of the same name”), and because this form is newer it seems less formal and less accurate to a certain person. number of readers.

construction workers and design consultants

A solid grammar foundation is key.

When we, your friendly dictionary, make claims about language, we base those claims on evidence.

One could also say that we make those assertions based on evidence.

But what about the second version? Does it sound wrong to you?

Establish a “base”

When the verb base used in the sense of “to find a foundation or basis for”, it usually entails a preposition with it to do the job. Usually and historically, that preposition is ABOVEor less often, above:

Our modern prophetic idealism is narrow because it has undergone a long process of elimination. We must ask for the new because we are not allowed to ask for the old. The whole stance is based on this idea that we have all the good that can be gained from the ideas of the past. — GK Chesterton, What’s wrong with the world1910

prepositions ABOVE And above seems logical enough for the phrase: you find a foundation or basis for something on or on something else: you build on that foundation or base.

But more and more we see turn off fulfill the role ABOVE And above hold:

The diets of the time, for both the rich and the poor, were based on the humorous science of the ancient Greeks, which argued that there was an imbalance between the four body fluids—blood, phlegm, cholera (yellow bile) and melancholy (black bile)—causes all kinds of diseases. — Michael Snyder, New York Times Style Magazine17 July 2020

How to use “Based off”

We do not know why “based on” (often expanded to “based on”) moved into territory that “based on” has occupied since the mid-18th century, but we do know that its use is relatively new. Preliminary research suggests it appears in speech taped from 1979:

[Coach Jack] Pardee admits that some of the substitutions so far have been based on “guess, calculated conjecture”, because no one on his staff is sure how the young players will endure the pressure. . “How do you know how Neal Olkewicz will play?” he asks. “You have a good idea, based on what he’s been doing in practice since he started camping, but until they compete, you can’t say for sure.” — Paul Atner, washington articlesOctober 16, 1979

Luk said that the New York Exchange’s recent month was for May delivery, and in the transition from February, traders at the exchange “could make a market in May based on the June contract of the New York Exchange.” Chicago”, Mr. Luke [Henry Luk, financial futures specialist] more. —John Morris, American bankerFebruary 23, 1981

Proof from the edited text can be found within that time period:

A large group of lenders have been persuaded to accept price risk, political risk, completion risk and operational risk, since there are no guarantees from the sponsors and the selling price is not available. based on world market prices.— Mining magazineNovember 1981

But if the use that strikes you as very new, it makes sense: it has seen a significant increase in popularity in the 21st century. Interestingly, the phrase is Synonymous use of “to come out of (of)” has followed a similar usage trajectory:

To see room rates under $200 is rare…. The occupancy rate during my stay seemed pretty low, different from what I could see, not many guests checking in or checking out and no crowds at the public spaces, so relaxing the social way is not the problem. — Paul Oswell, Business InsiderOctober 8, 2020

Phrase go off (of) evoke images away from information or ideas that serve as a useful starting point. It is likely that “based on (of)” conjures up similar images to those who use it.

See more:  'Whole Nother': Wrong or Right?

In practice, however, it doesn’t really matter if “based on” has a reasonable meaning. Although there are observable patterns and semantic explanations for many verb-prepositional conjunctions, there are also numerous examples for conjunctions that resist parsing. For example, we can drive down the street or up the street and move in the same direction, and although we like it when people look up words in our dictionary, we really don’t know why people English speakers decided that “find a word in a dictionary” was better than “look up a word in a dictionary,” as they had been saying for centuries.

“Based on (of)” is still rare enough (and new enough) that some people might notice it and be judged guilty. Based on that fact, you might want to avoid it.

Categories: Usage Notes

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