Choosing Between “Based Off” or “Based On”: A Simple Guide

25 November 2023 / Team Fun English Course

So, based off or based on? Which one is the right phrase? Whether you’re writing an essay or engaging in daily conversation, knowing the difference between “based off” and “based on” is essential. In this guide, we will unravel the specifics of each phrase to help you use them correctly.

Grammar Rules Explained

the difference between based off and based on

The difference between based off and based on is more than just a trivial word switch. “Based on” is the conventionally accepted expression used to denote that one thing is rooted in or originates from another. It’s generally your go-to choice for formal or academic writing. 

Conversely, “based off” is a newer phrase that’s less formal but is becoming increasingly common in casual conversations and even some journalistic writing. Traditionalists often argue that “based off” lacks the precision of “based on.” 

Therefore, the primary consideration in choosing between the two phrases is the context in which you’re writing or speaking. For formal settings, it’s best to stick with “based on,” while “based off” might be suitable for more relaxed scenarios.

When to Use “Based On”

when to use based on

Understanding when to use “based on” correctly is a common question, especially for those who need clarity and correctness in their work. In formal settings, like academic papers or business communication, “based on” is the preferred choice. 

In addition to conveying a sense of authority and precision, it also lends your statements credibility. For instance, if you’re presenting research findings, you’d likely say, “Our conclusions are based on empirical data”. 

Using “based on” in such situations aligns with traditional grammatical norms and ensures that your writing is taken seriously.

When to Use “Based Off”

When to Use "Based Off"

The phrase “based off” has gained traction in more relaxed, informal settings like casual conversations, social media, and internet forums. While it’s generally considered less formal than “based on,” it’s become acceptable in certain contexts where a colloquial tone is acceptable. 

For example, in a tweet or a casual blog post, you might say, “This meme is based off a popular TV show.” However, it’s essential to remember that “based off” is still frowned upon in formal writing and academic circles, so be sure to consider your audience and the medium before opting for this phrase.

Examples in Sentence

examples of based off

Indeed, specific examples are excellent tools for shedding light on the subtle differences between “based on” and “based off”. Here’s a collection of instances that illustrate each term’s appropriate usage, including examples of based off.

Sentences Using “Based On”

  • Formal Writing: “The research paper is based on empirical data collected over two years.”
  • Academic Settings: “The curriculum is based on the latest educational theories.”
  • Business Communication: “Our marketing strategy is based on customer feedback.”

In these contexts, “based on” lends the sentence a sense of formality and adherence to conventional language standards.

Sentences Using “Based Off”

  • Informal Situations: “That new movie is based off a comic book, you know?”
  • Colloquial Expressions: “I can’t believe they made a whole TV series based off that meme!”
  • Internet and Social Media: “This hashtag is based off a trending topic.”

In these instances, “based off” is quite fitting because the context is casual, and there’s no requirement for strict adherence to formal language norms. This highlights the “based off vs based on” debate.

In conclusion, understanding when to use “based on” and “based off” can significantly enhance the clarity and impact of your communication. Whether you’re drafting a formal report or firing off a tweet, the correct usage matters. 

If you’re eager to refine your English skills further, consider joining Fun English Course. We offer a range of programs suitable for everyone, from elementary schoolers to adults. 

Our specialized test preparation classes for IELTS and TOEFL, as well as conversation classes, can take your language mastery to the next level. Click here to enroll now and make no more mistakes with phrases like based off or based on.

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