C1 – Vocabulary – expressions with ‘off + the’

In a recent writing task we came across the expression go/get off the beaten track/path in the context of advising visitors of places that might not be major tourist attractions but might still be well worth visiting.

Here are 5 more expressions which include the pattern off + the.  Match the expressions in the examples below (1-5) with the definitions (a-e):

(a)  To think of something spontaneously or recall information from your memory without checking it or really having time to think about it

(b)  To get something wrong.  Often used to talk about a prediction that in time doesn’t come true.

(c)  To talk about something confidentially.

(d)  To behave in a wild, uncontrolled way.  Often involving alcohol or drugs.  Often used to talk about people whose lifestyle changes because they go from being quiet and responsible to being out of control.

(e)  A concept or suggestion that is a bit unusual or amusing.

  1. ‘Daddy, I wasn’t drunk’:  Miley Cyrus assures Billy Ray Cyrus she isn’t going off the rails as father and daughter reconcile.
  2. “…Portugal has it’s own food thing going on – flame grilled chicken sandwiches, fresh seafood and egg dishes, and Port wine to name a few off the top of my head.”
  3. ‘Much of Portugal remains blissfully undiscovered. Most of us know it only for the sun-drenched beaches of the Algarve and there lingers a collective assumption that somehow the rest of the country is unworthy of our interest. This theory couldn’t be wider off the mark.’
  4. “Echoing worries voiced by the United Nations, the rights group warned that sending the army onto Mexican streets to do the job of the police was a bad idea. Even individual soldiers have commented to Reuters, off the record of course, that they feel very uncomfortable about their new role. “
  5. “This 65-year-old great grandmother from Leyland has no desire to take a slower pace in life.  Janet Atkins, of Balcarres Road, has set herself a challenge to run 65 races before she reaches the age of 66. …She said: “It was a bit of an off-the-wall idea and it can be tough because sometimes I am doing the races two days in a row, but everything has been going well so far.

1:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1367634/Miley-Cyrus-assures-father-Billy-Ray-isnt-going-rails.html

2:  http://rovingtaster.blogspot.com/2011/06/portuguese-egg-tarts-and-why-i-love.html

3:  http://www.i-escape.com/portugal/guide

4:  http://blogs.reuters.com/global/tag/crisis/

5:  http://www.leylandguardian.co.uk/news/local/great_gran_wants_to_run_65_races_before_turning_66_1_3456538


Definition a:  (to think of / come up with an idea/thought/suggestion/answer) off the top of your head

b:  to be (way/wide) off the mark

c:  (comment/say something/speak/talk to someone) off the record

d:  to go off the rails

e:  an off the wall idea/suggestion/concept.  This expression often appears in the following pattern…

This may sound/seem like an off the wall idea but have you thought of… + suggestion + ?

Personalise it:

Drop me a comment in the box below…

It’s my birthday in a few days time.  I’d like to celebrate but I can’t think how.  Any off the wall ideas for something a bit unusual?

Thinking ahead:

Off the top of your head how many expressions can you think of which include the word head?

I’ll add some ideas in another post…C1 Vocabulary / CAE Use of English Part 4 – more expressions with “head”


1 Comment

Filed under C1+ Vocabulary

One response to “C1 – Vocabulary – expressions with ‘off + the’

  1. I miss your interesting posts I used to read last course (I’m Sally’s student from the Universidad Complutense courses).
    Thanks a lot for sharing your posts.
    Carmen Martín

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