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Keep someone off drugs or keep someone away from drugs

 
 
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 07:22 am
Is it "to keep someone off drugs" or "to keep someone away from drugs"?

If both are possible, do they mean the same thing?

If so, which is more commonly used?

Thank you.
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Type: Question • Score: 7 • Views: 1,301 • Replies: 42

 
Region Philbis
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 07:37 am
@paok1970,

both are possible... both mean the same thing.

not sure which phrase is more common...
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 08:21 am
@paok1970,
I don't think they mean the same thing.

To keep someone off drugs means to prevent them from using drugs. To keep someone away from drugs means to ensure that drugs are not in the same location as they are. I would never say "I want to keep my innocent little daughter off drugs". I would likely say "I want to keep my innocent little daughter away from drugs".

In practical terms, if I said "I want to keep Bob off drugs", the implication would be that I felt there was a real risk of Bob using drugs. The most likely case would be if Bob had used drugs in the past.

If I said, "I want to keep Billy away from drugs", Billy might be a child or someone who is vulnerable or innocent.

I might say that "I want to keep Bob away from drugs" (if he was a former user).. but this seems less strong to me.

Region Philbis
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 09:30 am
@maxdancona,
Quote:
I would never say "I want to keep my innocent little daughter off drugs". I would likely say
"I want to keep my innocent little daughter away from drugs".
since you're over-analyzing things...

it would be impossible for a parent to keep a child away from drugs unless they monitored them 24 hours a day.

however, a parent could keep a child off drugs by being a really good parent and teaching the child that drugs are bad...
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 10:51 am
@Region Philbis,
These nuances of the language are important... we read a lot into what is being said by how it is being said. That is part of learning a second language.

I disagree with both of the sample sentences you suggest, but that might be more a matter of perspective than of language.
Region Philbis
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 11:19 am
@maxdancona,

fair enough, but i doubt many ESL members are advanced enough for that level of nuance.

for their purposes, "off" and "away from" are interchangeable...
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 03:03 pm
@Region Philbis,
Region Philbis wrote:
since you're over-analyzing things...

It's not 'over-analyzing" to point out a genuine difference in meaning, especially since the questioner specifically asks if there is one.
centrox
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 03:04 pm
@Region Philbis,
Region Philbis wrote:
i doubt many ESL members are advanced enough for that level of nuance.

This is Paok we are talking about here, who is OCD about nuances.

0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 03:23 pm
@centrox,
Centrox... you are actually defending me! What did I do?
layman
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 03:28 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Centrox... you are actually defending me! What did I do?


I started to defend you too, Max, but then I thought "****, naw, it's that damn Max."
0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jan, 2018 04:52 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
Centrox... you are actually defending me! What did I do?

You were aware of the nuance (it's not all that rarified) and were being opposed by people who couldn't see it.
0 Replies
 
perennialloner
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2018 11:19 am
@paok1970,
I think in a scenario where people are speaking in broad terms about helping someone overcome an addiction, the constructions would effectively mean the same thing. However, in another scenario where people are formulating a detailed plan to help handle someone's addiction, the nuances between the two constructions might matter.

If it's hard for you to tell which is better to use, then neither will likely distort your intended meaning.
0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2018 12:33 pm
You can ensure that you stay off drugs by staying away from drugs.
layman
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2018 12:53 pm
@centrox,
centrox wrote:
You can ensure that you stay off drugs by staying away from drugs.


So ya might think, but it don't work that way. Those damn drugs just come and jump into my bloodstream most every day. Ya can run, but ya can't hide from them damn predators, eh? They will always catch up to you.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2018 01:25 pm
I've noticed lots of people talking about nuance without saying what that nuance is.

If someone has never taken, (been on,) drugs, they don't need to stay off, they need to stay away, because they've never been on them in the first place. You can only stay off them once you've been on them, but anyone can stay away from them.
layman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2018 01:33 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

You can only stay off them once you've been on them...


Wrong. You can be off, have always been off, and stay off.
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2018 02:23 pm
@layman,
layman wrote:
Wrong. You can be off, have always been off, and stay off.

Nope. I disagree. To be 'off' something implies having first been 'on' at least once. It is more than abstinence.

layman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2018 02:43 pm
@centrox,
centrox wrote:

layman wrote:
Wrong. You can be off, have always been off, and stay off.

Nope. I disagree. To be 'off' something implies having first been 'on' at least once. It is more than abstinence.


'Implies," eh? "Off" just means "aint on," best I know. The electricity in my crib is "off," cause I aint never had the money to have it turned on. I'm off of electricity, and on propane, wood, candles, and ****, see?

the Cambridge Dictionary wrote:
off

preposition, adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] US ​ /ɔf/

off preposition, adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (AWAY FROM)

away from a place or position, esp. the present place or position:

The sign says, "Keep off the grass."


https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/off

I guess the grass sign is actually an invitation to come on, because I can't "be" or "stay" off until after I do, eh?
perennialloner
 
  3  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2018 03:22 pm
@izzythepush,
The nuances being discussed aren't between "stay off" and "stay away from," they're between "keep someone off" and "keep someone away from."
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2018 03:26 pm
@perennialloner,
And..? You can't keep off unless you've been on. The point you're making is completely irrelevant. The words in question aren't keep and stay, they're away and off.
 

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