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Of vs. From: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 25, 2023
'Of' typically indicates possession, origin, or relation, whereas 'from' denotes the starting point, origin, or material of something.

Key Differences

'Of' is often used to show possession or belonging, as in "a friend of mine," while 'from' is used to indicate the source or origin, as in "a letter from a friend."
'Of' can denote the material something is made of, like "a statue of marble," whereas 'from' is used to specify the starting point of a movement or action, such as "walking from home to work."
'Of' may express a relationship or connection, as in "the sound of music," while 'from' often indicates a point in time, such as "from dawn till dusk."
'Of' is used in expressions of quantity, like "a cup of tea," whereas 'from' is used to show contrast or difference, such as "different from the rest."
'Of' can also indicate a part or component, as in "the pages of a book," whereas 'from' can imply a change in state or transformation, like "evolving from a startup to a corporation."

Comparison Chart


Possession, origin, or relation
Starting point, origin, or material

Use in Expressions

Material, relationship, quantity
Starting point, time, contrast

Example of Use

"A piece of cake"
"From the beginning"


Belonging or being part of something
Source or transition

Context of Usage

Often used in descriptive contexts
Commonly used in directional contexts

Of and From Definitions


Indicating possession or belonging.
The cover of the book was torn.


Showing the origin or source.
A letter from an old friend.


Relating to a particular subject.
The study of languages is fascinating.


Indicating the starting point of a movement.
He walked from the store to his home.


Indicating a part or component.
One of the windows is broken.


Specifying a point in time.
From Monday to Friday, I work late.


Expressing a relationship or connection.
The role of a teacher is vital.


Denoting a contrast or difference.
Different from what I expected.


Expressing the material something is made of.
A necklace of pearls.


Indicating a change in state.
Transformed from a caterpillar to a butterfly.


Derived or coming from; originating at or from
Customs of the South.


Used to indicate a specified place or time as a starting point
Walked home from the station.
From six o'clock on. See Usage Notes at escape, whence.


Caused by; resulting from
A death of tuberculosis.


Used to indicate a specified point as the first of two limits
From grades four to six.


Is 'from' used for source or origin?

Yes, 'from' indicates the source or origin, like "a gift from a friend."

Is 'of' used for possession?

Yes, 'of' often indicates possession, as in "the name of the book."

Can 'from' be used to show contrast?

Yes, 'from' is used to denote contrast, as in "different from the others."

Can 'from' indicate a time period?

Yes, 'from' can denote a time period, like "from January to March."

How is 'of' used in formal writing?

'Of' is common in formal writing for showing relationships, quantities, or possession.

Is 'of' used in expressions of quantity?

Yes, 'of' is often used in quantity expressions, like "a bunch of flowers."

Can 'of' indicate belonging to a group?

Yes, 'of' can show belonging, like "a member of the team."

How does 'from' relate to the source of information?

'From' can denote the source of information, as in "information from a reliable source."

How is 'of' used in relation to material?

'Of' expresses what something is made of, such as "made of wood."

Can 'of' denote part of a whole?

Yes, 'of' can signify a part of a whole, as in "a slice of cake."

How does 'from' express direction?

'From' specifies the starting point of a movement, like "running from home to school."

Is 'from' used to indicate a transformation?

Yes, 'from' can indicate a transformation, such as "changed from a small idea to a big project."

Can 'from' be used to describe distance?

Yes, 'from' can describe physical or metaphorical distance, like "a few miles from the city."

Can 'from' express exclusion?

Yes, 'from' can indicate exclusion, like "absent from the list."

How does 'of' function in legal language?

In legal language, 'of' is used for clarity in specifying relationships and rights, like "rights of the accused."

Can 'from' be used in terms of selection?

Yes, 'from' can indicate selection, like "choosing from a list."

Is 'of' used in idiomatic expressions?

Yes, 'of' is often used in idioms, like "a man of his word."

Can 'from' imply a reason or cause?

Yes, 'from' can imply a reason or cause, such as "suffering from an illness."

Is 'of' used in defining terms?

Yes, 'of' is used in definitions, like "the meaning of a word."

How does 'of' relate to ownership?

'Of' can imply ownership or association, such as "the owner of the car."
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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