Can I use “get off” to mean “just finished”?

I use the phrase ‘get off’ to mean "just finished." For example:

I just got off watching the movie.

I just got off reading the novel.

This is inspired by phrases like these:

I just got off the phone.

I just got off work.

I looked my phrases up and did not get a lot of relevant hits. My question is: do they make sense to a native speaker? Or they need to be modified?


By and large get off is proper in two circumstances:

  • When the idiom for the activity which you’re ending involves being on something. We speak of being on the telephone or on the treadmill or going on line, so it makes sense to end these by getting off.

  • When the idiom for being uninvolved in the activity is expressed with off. We speak about being off work or off duty, of being off rhythm or off our feed, so it makes sense to enter those states by getting off.

But the idiom is not ordinarily extendable to other situations. And you have to be careful. As Wendi Kidd has discreetly pointed out, get off has an explicitly sexual meaning, to achieve orgasm; and although that meaning is frequently extended to non-sexual activities in the sense “experience a rush of excitement”, or even simply “enjoy” (I get off on answering ELL questions), it’s still not a meaning you intend. If you say “I just got off reading the novel” people will probably think you are making a different mistake than the one you’re actually making!

Source : Link , Question Author : Thor , Answer Author : StoneyB on hiatus

Leave a Comment