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Hi,

This question's been on my mind for quite some time: I can't draw a distinct line between "outside" and "outside of", it seems that they are both used in quite the same contexts. For example, in American Corpus, which speaks volumes about differemt English usages, these examples are quoted:

1.1. Outside town, the morning brightens as a curtain of sunlight flows into the valley

1.2. Outside of town he pushed the Ford to sixty and let it ride

2.1 He thinks outside of the box

2.2 A bunch of narrow-minded car distributors didn't know how to think outside the box

To cut the long story short, is there any perceivable difference between the two, or they are completely intercgangeable ?

Thanks !
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I see no practical difference. No doubt prescriptivists (and I sometimes) would ask for the extraneous 'of' to be omitted in formal English, as is the case with 'off of'.
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Sometimes we say things like, "Outside of an occasional trip to the store, I hardly ever leave the house." I think that with this usage we're more likely to include the "of." Others may disagree.

I can't help thinking that Mr. Pernickety's four samples are most natural the way he has written them, but I'm hard pressed to explain it.Emotion: smile
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Thanks a lot for chipping in, I appreciate that !
Avangi
I can't help thinking that Mr. Pernickety's four samples are most natural the way he has written them, but I'm hard pressed to explain it.

If only they were mine, I would be jumping for joy. In point of fact I copied them from American Corpus! Well, anyway, thanks for commending me on copying the samples in the most natural way possible ))))

I don't usually think of myself as a "prescriptivist" (not that it is necessarily a bad thing to be), but I do have a bit of an opinion about your question.

'Outside' is a preposition of its own and needs no 'of' [I saw the crowd outside the building.] It can also be a noun [My brother painted the outside of the house, but not the inside.]

In my opinion, it is only sloppiness that allows for what some would call "natural". Of course, I am willing to accept that such sloppiness is a large factor in keeping languages in a constant state of change.
Philip keeping languages in a constant state of change.
Hi Philip.
Do you feel that in the best of all possible worlds, we could put a stop to this? Emotion: smile

Best wishes, - A.
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I should comment that my comments were directed only to the preposition of location. No prescriptivists we, but you've switched to a noun for 'the outside of the house' Philip, and I think that Avangi snuck in an idiom with 'Outside of an occasional trip to the store'.
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Oops. I see the originals were, too, Avangi. Oh well, it works both ways-- I stand by my statement.

Too early in the morning.....
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Avangi
Philip keeping languages in a constant state of change.
Hi Philip.

Do you feel that in the best of all possible worlds, we could put a stop to this?

Best wishes, - A.

Even Dr. Pangloss would have his hands full with this one. But then he is a cute little fop, isn't he.

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