What Does ‘of’ Mean

Explore the meaning and usage of ‘of’ in English language. Learn how ‘of’ indicates possession, belonging, origin, and more. Examples and case studies included.

Understanding the Meaning of ‘of’

One of the most common words in the English language is ‘of,’ and yet its meaning can be quite nuanced and complex. In this article, we’ll explore what ‘of’ really means, how it is used, and provide examples to illustrate its various functions.

Defining ‘of’

At its most basic level, ‘of’ is a preposition that indicates a relationship between two things. It is often used to show possession, belonging, or origin. For example, in the phrase ‘Jane is a friend of mine,’ ‘of’ indicates the relationship between Jane and the speaker.

Examples of Usage

1. Possession: ‘The keys are on top of the table.’
2. Source: ‘The book was written by one of the greatest authors of all time.’
3. Made of: ‘The statue was made of marble.’

Case Studies

Let’s consider a case study to further illustrate the importance of ‘of.’ In legal documents, the precise use of language is crucial. One small error with ‘of’ can completely change the meaning of a sentence and have legal implications. For example, ‘The car of the witness’ implies that the car belongs to the witness, while ‘The witness of the car’ suggests a different relationship.

Statistics on Frequency

According to linguistic studies, ‘of’ is one of the top ten most frequently used words in English. It appears in a wide range of contexts and is crucial for constructing complex sentences.


While ‘of’ may seem like a simple word, its usage is more nuanced than meets the eye. By understanding its various functions and examples of usage, we can appreciate the importance of ‘of’ in conveying relationships and meanings in English language.

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