A Few Words About “Out of”

A Few Words About “Out of”

“If you do things out of time, they are weird.”

Robyn Hitchcock, an English singer-songwriter and guitarist

Out of is a preposition, so it can be used before a noun, a noun phrase or a pronoun, connecting it to another word. For example:

She let him out of the house.

This building is made out of stone.

We have to make our choice out of these 10 books.

I did it out of curiosity.

He is out of work and can’t afford the trip now.

Out of is used in all the above sentences but it conveys different meanings in all of them. Let’s start with the first sentence and the fist meaning of the preposition.

Meaning 1

When you use out of, you mean that something/somebody is no longer in some place/condition:

She let me out of the room.

This cork won’t come out of the bottle.

Sometimes I simply can’t drag myself out of bed in the morning.

I am out of town till Friday.

Luckily, she is out of danger.

Meaning 2

Out of is used when you want to emphasize the substance from which something is made:

It’s made out of wood, not plastic.

The dress was made out of velvet.

Note that we use made of when it is obvious what substance has been used to make something (e.g. “the castle is made of sand”), and we use made from to say what ingredients have been used (e.g. “bread is made from flour, water and yeast”).

Meaning 3

Out of can mean from among (a number):

Nine out of ten people said they disliked the film.

Nobody got 100 out of 100 in the test.

Meaning 4

Out of can mean because of and show the reason why somebody does something:

I asked this question out of curiosity.

He hurts you out of envy.

He took the job out of necessity, not because he really liked it. He simply had no choice.

Meaning 5

Out of can be used to describe the origin of something:

It’s like your dress is out of the 18th century.

I paid for the trip out of my savings.

I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing computer games.

Common phrases & idioms

  1. Out of sight, out of mind. Meaning: when something/someone can’t be seen, it is easier to forget this thing/person. Examples: 1) He forgot her soon after she left for London. Out of sight, out of mind. 2) I try not to think about all the devastation caused by the hurricane. I even moved to a totally different place. Out of sight, out of mind.
  2. Out of it. Meaning 1: not conscious of what’s going on around you as a result of taking alcohol/drugs: She was lying in her bed, totally out of it. Meaning 2: unhappy because you are not involved in what’s happening: I hate feeling out of it.
  3. Out of one’s mind/head – extremely silly: 1) You are out of your mind wasting your life like that! 2) He is out of his head if he thinks I’m going to let him treat me like that.
  4. Out of the/a blue sky / out of the blue – as a complete surprise: 1) His mood changed out of the blue sky. 2) He started yelling out of a blue sky. 3) It happened out of the blue. I wasn’t prepared at all.
  5. Out of work / out of a job – unemployed: 1) He is out of work, so don’t ask him for money. 2) I’ve been out of a job for some time.
  6. Out of action – temporarily unable to engage in a certain activity; not working: 1) A heart attack put him out of action. 2) I hate to be out of action. I hope I won’t be out of a job for too long.
  7. Out of character – not characteristic of somebody: It’s out of character for me. I usually don’t act like that.
  8. Out of order – (of a device) not working properly or at all: The elevator is out of order. We are waiting for it to be fixed. 
  9. Out of service – not available for use: The elevator is out of service. Perhaps, it’s being cleaned.
  10. Out of touch. Meaning 1: lacking up-to date knowledge or information: He is out of touch with what’s going on within the company. Meaning 2: not being in contact with someone: I am out of touch with my former classmates. 
  11. Out of money – short of money: I am out of money now, so I can’t lend you any. Sorry. 
  12. Out of time – at the wrong time/period: I felt I was born out of time.
  13. Out of luck – not lucky: I am always out of luck! I can’t stand it!
  14. Out of breath – gasping for air, typically after exercise: He arrived at the top floor out of breath.
  15. Out of control – no longer possible to manage: The fire is burning out of control. 


Click the link here and match the sentences with the same meaning.

Click the link here and complete the sentences with one word.

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