"live off sth" vs "live on sth" What is the difference between these phrasal verbs in the meaning "to only eat a particular kind of food"? Are they completely interchangeable? For example, do the pairs below sound natural? 1a Many teenagers tend to live off hamburgers and fries. 1b Many teenagers tend to live on hamburgers and fries. 2a Most of the population live on a diet of rice. 2b Most of the population live off a diet of rice.
Aug 27, 2018 10:56 AM
Answers · 4
My experience is the same as Jimmy's. "live on" = to eat only or mostly a few food types ... "University students seem to live on pizza and coffee." "live on" = to survive on a small payment ... "The widow lived on a small pension." "live off (of)" = indicates the source of food ... "The early settlers lived off (of) the land. They hunted and fished for food." "live off (of)" = indicates the source of income (often negative) ... "Sam doesn't work. He lives off (of) his parents."
August 27, 2018
They both have several meanings which overlap. Here 'live on' is the right choice. You might hear people saying 'live off' in this context, but they would not get marks for it in an exam. Usually, when talking about food we would use 'live on' to describe what they eat, 'live off' to describe where it came from; they might live off their parents, or, if they grow their own food, they would be living off the land.
August 27, 2018
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!