“Based in” and “based out of”

By Maeve Maddox

M. Arun writes:

Is it correct to say “I work out of New York”- to mean that one’s workplace is in New York. Or to say “I am based out of New York” to mean you live in New York? It sounds a wrong to me!

The use of “out of” described here may be a regional thing. It is not standard English.

Ordinarily, the expression “to work out of a place” is used this way:

Mr. Patel works out of his house.
Mr. Patel has a home office where he runs his business or fulfills the obligations of a job (telecommuting).

George works out of New York.
George lives in New York, or his company’s office is in New York, but his work takes him to various places.

As for “based,” a person or a business can be based in New York. To say that one is based out of New York seems to mean that the person or business is located somewhere other than in New York.

It seems a curious choice for someone to say “I’m based out of New York” to mean merely “I live in New York.” I suppose that the use of based in this context could represent an effort to distance oneself from the place lived in: I’m based in New York for now, but my real home is in Alabama.

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15 Responses to ““Based in” and “based out of””

  • Cine Cynic

    I find the usage of “out of” as being similar to “from” and “in” very confusing.

    This post reminds me of another doubt. I’ve been coming across corporate mails saying that so-and-so will report into so-and-so. Is it “report into” or “report to” or something else? Maeve?

  • Maeve

    @Cine Cynic,
    So-and-so will report TO so-and-so. The “into” in this context is impossible.

    into denotes motion towards. See
    http://www.dailywritingtips.com/when-to-use-on-and-when-to-use-in/

  • Cine Cynic

    Thank you, Maeve. That clears it though the trend is up. Do check the number of search results for “I report into”, “He reports into” and “She reports into”.

  • M Arun

    I am still not convinced. If you take the example “Mr. Patel works out of his house”, where the implication is that Mr. Patel actually WORKS IN his house – where he runs his business or fulfills the obligations of a job while IN the house..

    I understand this is not standard English, but find myself surrounded by people who use this. My question is is this incorrect, or have we accepted this usage as it has become so common?

    And yes – the report INTO vs report TO is equally distressing!

    Thanks,
    M

  • Nancy Miller

    …& unfortunately there are English teachers (such as one at my children’s high school) who are teaching their students to write that “this idea is based off of…” instead of “based on…” –perhaps the point is to convey an idea being launched into the stratosphere?

  • Gouri

    @Cine Cynic: You’re right, usage of ‘report(s) into’ seems to be the in thing. When I saw it the first time, I passed it off as an error.

  • Paul Oberlander

    I think “based out of” and “based off of” ignore the meaning of the word “base.”

    The comment about “Report into” is a little misleading, because of how it is written. If it is being written this way, it is because the writer misunderstood the spoken phrase “report in to.” This would be based ON the phrase “report in” which I have seen in military contexts when someone is on a mission. Of course, to further describe the act, they would add the prepositional phrase describing to whom they are reporting. That would not be as egregious as “report into” which sound painful.

    However, I think “report to” would be cleaner and more sensible.

  • Paul Oberlander

    That is, “sounds painful.” Sorry!

  • Daniel Haris

    “Based out of XYZ” typically in an American organization means that you will be working in the office in XYZ location but you may or may not be required to travel to other locations for work.

  • ApK

    Since this article is linked from today’s article, I figure I’ll comment here:
    “Based out of” is a common military phrase, and has never seemed awkward or confusing to me. In the Navy, I might be working in one location, say, Pennsylvania, but my unit’s headquarters, where I get my orders from, might be in, say, Italy. I would say I’m based out of Italy. It’s a very common phrase for units with members that travel a lot. Seems to make perfect sense to me.

  • Maeve Maddox

    ApK,
    I agree that “based out of” makes sense in the context you describe.
    However, as I say in the post,
    It seems a curious choice for someone to say “I’m based out of New York” to mean merely “I live in New York.”

  • Dale A. Wood

    I think that people such as TV reporters who use “out of” instead of “from” are just trying to sound like chrome domes – in other words, to be overly impressive.

    They say things like “He is an economist out of Yale” and “She is a basketball player out of George Washington High School” instead of using the word “from”. Once again: They are just trying to sound like chrome domes. Instead, they just sound like dimwits.

    I am an engineer from Auburn University and Georgia Tech, and definitely not “out of”.
    D.A.W.

  • Alok Paranjape

    The first time I heard ‘Based out of’ it made complete sense to me. It was used in work context, where my job was based out of Mumbai. When I say I am based out of mumbai, it implies that the scope of my work includes many places outside Mumbai, but Mumbai is where my headquarters are.

    so in this context, the word ‘based’ also makes sense as it is my base location that i come back to (or work all the time in) and my scope of work expands to other locations as well.

    The perceived increase in popularity of this term may be due to the increase in the number of jobs that have a multi-location scope.
    And as a term becomes popular, many people who don’t care much about articulation tend to use it out of context mostly as a replacement for ‘living in’ just because it sounds cool. But for those who care, it’s quite a useful term to explain your base location.

  • Alok Paranjape

    Oh.. just read Apk’s comment. Makes my comment quite redundant. 🙂

  • Dave Stone

    Quite agreed. “Based” is similar to “anchored.” A specific location. To say “based out of” sounds ridiculous. Things can be based IN or based ON, but not based out of. Same goes for “works out of.” We can work FROM home or AT home. Anything else sounds silly.

    “Outdoors” is the abbreviated version of the old “out-of-doors.” If we’re OUT, we’re not IN. So, to say “I work out of my home” literally means you must not be working inside.

    Another issue: adding unnecessary words. “I’m going to go ahead and do the laundry.” What’s wrong with just saying, “I’m going to do the laundry?” Are we afraid that people might think we’re going to go backwards if we don’t specifically state that we’re going to “go ahead?”

    Don’t even get me started on the gross overuse of “like” and “you know.”

    English was a perfectly good language until some people began mangling it. One person hears something someone else says and then adds it to their own speech habits. Like parrots.

    So there. 😉

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