‘Of course’ and ‘off course’ sound and look so similar to each other that many non-native speakers of English may not even know that these are two independent expressions with completely different meanings. The first expression ‘of course’ is often used in day-to-day conversation, but even more often people misspell it as ‘off course’. In this article we discuss the difference between the expressions ‘of course’ and ‘off course’.
‘Of course’ is an adverb meaning ‘naturally, expectedly, obviously, not surprisingly, certainly, for sure’, etc. It connotes an emphatic ‘yes’. The antonym of ‘of course’ is ‘of course not’ or ‘no way’.
The expression ‘off course’ too is an adverb but it means ‘not following the planned or intended route, off track, off target, gone astray’, etc. The antonym of ‘off course’ is ‘on course’, i.e., following the expected course or route, or running as per the scheduled plan.
The following examples illustrate the usage of ‘of course’ and ‘off course’ in sentences and further clarify the difference between ‘of course’ and ‘off course’:
- Are you coming for the party tonight? Of course, I am!
- I will, of course, make sure that you receive all the required documents in time.
- But, of course, I understand your financial constraints and inability to bail me out of the mess that I have got into.
- What do you mean by I don’t look like an African? Of course, I am from Africa. Did you expect me to be dressed in leaves and all that?
- The ship steered off course and collided with a reef.
- The crew of the ship was perhaps not aware that they were going off course.
- The government’s ambitious project of providing affordable housing to all has gone off course and may take another 5 years to make any progress.
That’s all about the difference between ‘of course’ and ‘off course’.