General Writing and Grammar Help/cross out or cross off

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Question
Can you help me to distinguish between these two phrasal verbs: cross out and cross off? I look them up in the dictionary and i see that they have the same meaning as cancel or delete. which one should i use in the following sentences?
1.I coulnt cross...........all the words on the sign because my class was too dirty.
2. I cross......... my name because i won't be able to attend.

Answer
Dear Loccao:

I thought I had answered a question for you several months ago, but I checked my answers for the last year and could not find your name.  I help several students in Vietnam, and they are always a pleasure.

****

  Can you help me to distinguish between these two phrasal verbs: cross out and cross off? I look them up in the dictionary and i see that they have the same meaning as cancel or delete. which one should i use in the following sentences?
1.I coulnt [COULDN'T] cross...........all the words on the sign because my class was too dirty.
2. I cross [CROSSED]......... my name because i won't be able to attend.

*** I agree with your dictionary.  The two phrases mean the same thing.  However, there is a slight difference in when you use them.

For instance, if you CROSS something OUT, you are actually marking over it so that it cannot possibly be read.  I don't understand your first sentence, but, if you were trying to get rid of all the words by covering them up -- like painting over them -- then you are CROSSING THEM OUT.

In your second sentence, you have CROSSED your name OFF.  Maybe you put an X or a check mark beside your name.  Maybe you drew a line THROUGH your name.  You can still READ your name, but the line through it means that you are not attending the event.

CROSS OUT -- completely cover over something so that it cannot be read

CROSS OFF -- indicating by a line or some other mark that whatever is written there has been canceled.

EXAMPLES:

I intend to CROSS OUT the failing grade the teacher put on my paper; I don't want my parents to see it.

Steven made a list of foods.  He then drew a line through several of the items.  Those CROSSED OFF foods were the ones he refuses to eat.

Loccao, if my answer is not clear, please write back.  Also, please remember to evaluate my answer when you receive it.

Thank you.

Ted  

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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