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Outside of

When the phrase outside of functions adverbially or prepositionally, of could almost always be removed with no loss of meaning. For example, of serves no purpose in these sentences and could be removed:

For the June 6 meeting, police were waiting outside of the packed auditorium in case the large and angered crowd became unruly. [Patch]

Orange County residents who live outside of Chapel Hill won’t be charged a fee to use the town’s library. [Burlington Times-News]

When outside of functions in other ways, the of is often essential. For instance, when it means aside from or other than, removing the of wouldn’t work—for example:


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Outside of the surprisingly propulsive X-Men: First Class, it’s been a disappointing year for the comic book adaptation. [The Atlantic]

Outside of the President’s deluded pied pipers, most Americans aren’t laughing at the gargantuan waste and ineffectiveness of his policies. [American Thinker]

Outside of also works where outside is a noun—for example:

The outside of the house takes a beating from the elements. [Washington Post]

Most head-butting animals have a stiff rind on the outside of the dome. [Wired]

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Comments

  1. Francis Jezierski says:

    Where Americans would write ‘outside of’, the correct English English would be ‘outside’. However, American usage is invading the UK.

  2. Anthony Scott says:

    No one says inside of in the same way!!!!

  3. Vitaly Tomilov says:

    A better rule-of-thumb explanation: Only use “outside of” when it means “besides”.

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