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Bought off, or bought from, Acme Inc. 
Posted: 08 February 2014 01:00 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Do they mean the same thing? I typically would only say “bought from.” Is this some holdover conflict between Scandinavian and Germanic prepositional influences?

[ Edited: 08 February 2014 01:06 PM by Iron Pyrite ]
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Posted: 08 February 2014 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I might use bought off if it were an online purchase or from somebody’s car trunk, but not for anything I bought in a brick and mortar store.  The keyword there is might.  I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

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Posted: 08 February 2014 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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"Bought [or buy] {item} off {seller}” is non-standard in my estimation.  Likewise with take, borrow.

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Posted: 08 February 2014 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I agree with Doc T.: “bought off {seller}” is colloquial, to say the least.

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Posted: 08 February 2014 06:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yes, in the UK bought off is non-standard in educated speech.

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Posted: 08 February 2014 09:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Same in Australia. “Bought off” has a slangy ring.

EDIT: Considering the headfeel, I reckon I would not be at all likely to say I bought something off a company. I might use that preposition in informal speech referring to something I purchased from an individual. “I bought a car off that drongo once.”

[ Edited: 08 February 2014 10:00 PM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 08 February 2014 10:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Just Googled “bought it off a guy” and got 1,010,000 hits.  “Bought it off Amazon” got 916,000 hits.  “Bought it off WalMart” only got 12,200 hits and most of those refer to Walmart.com.  So it seems we only buy stuff off ”a guy” or the internet but we buy things from brick and mortar stores.  I wonder if that’s because buying stuff off the internet is still non-standard for a lot of people and it feels a little like buying out of a guy’s trunk.

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Posted: 08 February 2014 10:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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jtab4994 - 08 February 2014 10:09 PM

Just Googled “bought it off a guy” and got 1,010,000 hits.  “Bought it off Amazon” got 916,000 hits.  “Bought it off WalMart” only got 12,200 hits and most of those refer to Walmart.com.  So it seems we only buy stuff off ”a guy” or the internet but we buy things from brick and mortar stores.  I wonder if that’s because buying stuff off the internet is still non-standard for a lot of people and it feels a little like buying out of a guy’s trunk.

Actually that rings true too.

But actually I would be most likely to say “I bought it on Amazon”, or eBay etc. One is “on” a website, and activities there are done “on” that website.

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Posted: 08 February 2014 11:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Bought off, at least in America, has also the connotation of a bribe. E.g.  He was bought off.  He is too honest, he cannot be bought off.

[ Edited: 08 February 2014 11:43 PM by Logophile ]
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Posted: 09 February 2014 04:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Just Googled “bought it off a guy” and got 1,010,000 hits.  “Bought it off Amazon” got 916,000 hits.  “Bought it off WalMart” only got 12,200 hits and most of those refer to Walmart.com.  So it seems we only buy stuff off ”a guy” or the internet but we buy things from brick and mortar stores.  I wonder if that’s because buying stuff off the internet is still non-standard for a lot of people and it feels a little like buying out of a guy’s trunk.

That’s my impression too. Bought off emphasizes the sales channel or connotes an unusual one.

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Posted: 09 February 2014 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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"bought off the back of a lorry” or truck get a combined google hit of over 75K.  Certainly has shady links!

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Posted: 09 February 2014 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Bought off, at least in America, has also the connotation of a bribe. E.g.  He was bought off.

That is a quite different, and I would say unrelated, construction.

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Posted: 09 February 2014 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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there seems to be pretty unanimous agreement - not a usual thing on this forum!

1. “I bought the stuff off a fellow-inmate who was paroled”

2. “I bought the painting from a second-hand dealer”

might I add:

3. “I bought the anchovy paste at Safeway” --- though I admit it’s not quite comparable

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Posted: 10 February 2014 12:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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3. “I bought the anchovy paste at Safeway” --- though I admit it’s not quite comparable

Not to be confused with
“I bought the anchovy paste at Safeway, but it was off”

But an interesting point, “at” is OK with Safeway Tesco etc, but not Amazon (because you can actually travel to a shop?).  However Amazon is probably fine with “off” and “from”.

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Posted: 10 February 2014 02:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I think “at” simply indicates the location at which the purchase was made, rather than a participant in the transaction (at the ship’s gift shop, at Widdicombe fair, etc.)

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Posted: 10 February 2014 04:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I was about to dispute Lionello’s claim that at denotes location with this:

Alice: Where did you get that? I can’t find that brand anywhere.
Bob: I got it at Safeway.

Where the at denotes the seller, not the the specific location. But then I realized I shifted the verb from buy to get. One could of course use buy, but in my dialect it wouldn’t be the first choice in this context. I wonder if that’s not a subtle difference in the language, or if it’s just a peculiarity of my own usage.

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