Hello students! How are you this Wednesday? Today we´re working in conjunction with ESI Radio ( and we´re going to talk about ‘from’ and ‘of’, two prepositions that worry many English learners. That´s because in some languages like Spanish, Italian or French, we use only one word (in Spanish, “de”) and not two. However, in English, there´re some differences between ‘from’ and ‘of’. As you can see, this topic is ‘food for thought’. When do you have to use ‘from’? And ‘of’? In this post you´ll find some clues.

Teacher, I don´t understand the difference between ‘from’ and ‘of’!, a lot of students say every day to their teachers and professors. Especially if they´re Spanish. Why? Because here in our country, we only use a preposition instead of two, and this preposition is “de”. For example: “El acero está hecho de hierro” o “La gente de España”. However, in English you´ve to say ‘Steel is made from iron’ and ‘The people of Spain’. That´s why you have to learn the following rules.


When is this preposition used in English?

  • It´s used to show where somebody/something starts.

She began to walk away from him.

Has the train from Bombay arrived?

  • Used to show when something starts.

We’re open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

He was blind from birth.


  • Used to show who sent or gave something/somebody.

A letter from my brother.

Information from witnesses.

  • Used to show what the origin of somebody/something is.

I’m from Italy.

Documents from the sixteenth century.

Quotations from William Shakespeare.

Heat from the sun.


  • Used to show the material that something is made of.

Steel is made from iron.

The table is made from wood.


  • Used to show how far apart two places are.

100 metres from the scene of the accident.


  • Used to show somebody’s position or point of view.

You can see the island from here.

From a financial point of view the project was a disaster.


  • From something (to something) used to show the range of something.

The temperature varies from 30 degrees to minus 20.

The store sells everything from shoelaces to computers.

Conditions vary from school to school.


  • From something (to something) used to show the state or form of something/somebody before a change.

Things have gone from bad to worse.

Translating from English to Spanish.

You need a break from your routine.


  • Used to show that somebody/something is separated or removed.

The party was ousted from power after eighteen years.


  • Used to show that something is prevented.

She saved him from drowning.


  • Used to show the reason for something.

She felt sick from tiredness.


  • Used to show the reason for making a judgement.

You can tell a lot about a person from their handwriting.

From what I heard the company’s in deep trouble.


  • Used when distinguishing between two people or things.

Is Portuguese very different from Spanish?

I can’t tell one twin from the other.



  • Belonging to somebody; relating to somebody.

A friend of mine.

The love of a mother for her child.

The role of the teacher.

Can’t you throw out that old bike of Tommy’s?


When you are talking about everything someone has painted, written, etc., use of. When you are referring to one or more examples of somebody’s work, use by: A painting by Monet.


  • Belonging to something; being part of something; relating to something.

The lid of the box.

The director of the Company.

A member of the teamthe result of the debate.


  • Coming from a particular background or living in a place.

A woman of Italian descent.

The people of Wales.

  • Concerning or showing somebody/somethinga story of passion.

A photo of my doga map of India.


  • Used to say what somebody/something is, consists of, or contains.

The city of Dublin.

The issue of housing.

A crowd of people.

A glass of milk.


  • Used with measurements and expressions of time, age, etc.

2 kilos of potatoes.

An increase of 2%.

A girl of 12.

The fourth of July.

The year of his birth.

(Old-fashioned) We would often have a walk of an evening.

  • Used to show somebody/something belongs to a group, often after somea few, etc.

Some of his friends.

A few of the problems.

The most famous of all the stars.


  • Used to show the position of something/somebody in space or time

Just north of Detroit.

At the time of the revolution.

(North American English) at a quarter of eleven tonight (= 10.45 p.m.)


  • Used after nouns formed from verbs. The noun after ‘of’ can be either the object or the subject of the action.

The arrival of the police (= they arrive)

Criticism of the police (= they are criticized)

Fear of the dark.

The howling of the wind.


  • Used after some verbs before mentioning somebody/something involved in the action.

To deprive somebody of something.

He was cleared of all blame.

Think of a number, any number.


  • Used after some adjectives before mentioning somebody/something that a feeling relates to.

To be proud of something.


  • Used to give your opinion of somebody’s behaviour.

It was kind of you to offer.


  • Used when one noun describes a second one.

Where’s that idiot of a boy (= the boy that you think is stupid)?


Now that you have read this post, can you complete these sentences with the correct preposition?


And that is all for today.

Visit ESI Radio if you have problems with the pronunciation of some of the words. Very soon you´ll find there this post.

Once more, thank you for visiting our blog!