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General Writing and Grammar Help/Run out of something - be out of something

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Question
Dear Ted:

Is there a difference between "to be out of something" and "to have run out of something"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Thank you,

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

  

Is there a difference between "to be out of something" and "to have run out of something"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

*** Both expressions mean the same thing and they can be interchanged.

EXAMPLES:

The store is out of Italian bread; they expect to have fresh loaves tomorrow.

[In this example, we do not know WHEN their last bread was sold.]

The store has run out of Italian bread; they expect to have fresh loaves tomorrow.

[In this example, the use of the present perfect tense suggests that the "running out"
very recently happened. We just do not know for certain how recently their last bread
was sold.]

Paolo, if the store clerk tells you that they JUST sold the last loaf, then you should
use the present perfect, because you know that the PRESENT condition HAS JUST HAPPENED.

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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