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Thursday, September 8, 2016


Context #1 – Students in class at university

Vickey: I’m so confused after Professor Johnson’s lecture today. Did you understand any of it?
Mac: Not at all! He just makes a bunch of off-the-cuff remarks and thinks it is a lecture. I doubt he even knows what he is talking about.
Vickey: I agree. He doesn’t seem prepared at all and then he changes his mind in the middle of class.
Mac: Yes, he shouldn’t just speak off-the-cuff every day. He needs to prepare for his lectures.

Context #2 – Two friends talking about a person they saw on TV

Sierra:  Did you see Bob on TV last night?
Peter:  Yes, I saw him being interviewed on the 10:00 News.  He was amazing!
Sierra: Did you know that he was speaking off-the-cuff? He didn’t prepare his answers at all.
Peter: Wow! Really? I wish I could give off-the-cuff answers like that. He really sounded good.
Sierra: Well, he is really talented when it comes to public speaking. He is a quick learner.

Meaning: “Off-the-cuff” means unprepared or spontaneous and can be used as both an adjective and adverb. In Context 1, the students are talking about a professor who makes off-the-cuff remarks (used as an adjective), which make his lectures confusing. They both agree that the professor shouldn’t speak off-the-cuff (used as an adverb). In context 2, the friends think that Bob’s off-the-cuff answers in the interview on TV were very good. 


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Off the Beaten Path

Idiom: Off the Beaten Track/Path – in or into an isolated place; in a place where very few people go; a place not known by the general public

Context #1 – Roommates at home

Vanessa: Hey, Brad! I’ve been looking all over for you. Where have you been?
Brad: Oh, hi Vanessa. Sorry, I was really stressed out at work today. I needed to just get away from the crowds for a while, so I stopped by a little pub that is off the beaten path. It was nice just sitting down alone and relaxing for a while with no one to bother me.
Vanessa: You found a pub that is off the beaten path in LA?
Brad: Yes, unbelievable! There are a few regulars that go there, but it’s never crowded and people just leave you alone. It’s great when you need to unwind.

Context #2 – Two friends talking before going on vacation

Sami:  I’m so excited. I can’t wait until my vacation!
Petra: Really? Where are you going?
Sami: Well, I’ve been really stressed out with school lately, so I wanted to go somewhere that is off the beaten track. Someplace where I can be alone.
Petra: Sounds nice!
Sami: Yes. I am driving up to Oregon and I’m going to stay in a little Bed and Breakfast my roommate told me about a few weeks ago.
Petra: Well, if you want to go somewhere quiet, it is always good to find a place that is off the beaten track. Then, you don’t have to deal with all the crowded places that tourists like to visit.

Meaning: “Off the beaten track/path” means a place that is isolated or is not known by a lot of people. In context 1, Brad needs to go somewhere quiet where no one will bother him, so he finds a pub that is “off the beaten path.” In context 2, Sami wants to spend her vacation in a place that is off the beaten track so that she doesn’t encounter crowds of people and can just relax.