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More on "Of" (#8), by Dennis Oliver

 

Of is also commonly used with directions to show the
general way to travel from one location to another:

north of Main Street

west of the train station

east of Phoenix, Arizona

northwest of the bank

When directions are used with of in this way, the
direction before
of shows the way to go when moving
to a new location from the location that is named:

north of Main Street =
From Main Street, go north .

northwest of the bank =
From the bank, go northwest.

Expressions such as those above can be made more
exact by adding a measurement of distance:

2.5 miles north of Main Street

four blocks west of the train station

about 200 miles east of Phoenix, Arizona

half a block northwest of the bank

If a measurement of distance is given, it shows how far
to go when moving from the named location:

2.5 miles north of Main Street =
From Main Street, go north for 2.5 miles.

half a block northwest of the bank =
From the bank, go northwest for half a block.

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