100% off the matter: preposition off

Annakrutitskaya

Senior Member
Russian
Hello!

I wonder if a phrase "He is 100% off the matter (or language knowledge, or any knowledge field) can be used to mean "he is 100% away from the matter", he doesn't know a thing about the matter (field).

I am interested here in practicing one of the meanings and usages of the presupposition "off" as "away from something, at a distance", like in an example from Oxford dictionary: "Scientists are still long way off the subject"

Thank you!
 
  • Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    I wonder if a phrase "He is 100% off the matter (or language knowledge, or any knowledge field) can be used to mean "he is 100% away from the matter", he doesn't know a thing about the matter (field).
    Who knows? If this were a standard, common, well-known phrase, we could tell you what it does or does not mean. However, this is not a common, or standard, or well-known phrase. Where did you get it? Did you make it up yourself? And if you made it up yourself, what do you want it to mean?
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    This sentence (quoted below) has no clear meaning. As to being 'away from the matter,' also no clear meaning.

    IF you want to use 'off,' in such context, the construction is this.
    Building a bridge is far off {or 'way off'} from this fellow's area of expertise-- he's an electrical engineer.


    He is 100% off the matter (or language knowledge, or any knowledge field)
     

    Annakrutitskaya

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Who knows? If this were a standard, common, well-known phrase, we could tell you what it does or does not mean. However, this is not a common, or standard, or well-known phrase. Where did you get it? Did you make it up yourself? And if you made it up yourself, what do you want it to mean?
    Here is the meaning: he doesn't know a thing about the matter (field) (I have it in the first sentence). Yes, I made it up myself for practice purpose; I also might use it, if it's ok
     

    Annakrutitskaya

    Senior Member
    Russian
    This sentence (quoted below) has no clear meaning. As to being 'away from the matter,' also no clear meaning.

    IF you want to use 'off,' in such context, the construction is this.
    Building a bridge is far off {or 'way off'} from this fellow's area of expertise-- he's an electrical engineer.
    Well, the context is supposed to be less formal; something like:
    "I don't know anything about the subject; I better ask him"
    "He is also 100% off the matter" (= he doesn't know a thing about this)
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    Again, the sentence has no clear meaning to this native speaker.

    Again, what you're saying is "Architecture is far off from his areas of knowledge, which are
    mainly in the field of engineering."


    Well, the context is supposed to be less formal; something like:
    "I don't know anything about the subject; I better ask him"
    "He is also 100% off the matter" (= he doesn't know a thing about this)
     

    Annakrutitskaya

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Again, the sentence has no clear meaning to this native speaker.

    Again, what you're saying is "Architecture is far off from his areas of knowledge, which are
    mainly in the field of engineering."
    Yes, indeed, this is very close to what I want to say. If in conversation someone says that he/she doesn't know anything about a particular subject, or area of specialization, another person could say that he/she is also very far from it, also doesn't know anything about it.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't find that it works in the context you are providing. The meaning you want to use is
    "away from something, at a distance"
    That is the meaning as in "The ship was still 20 miles off the coast". I find your example
    "Scientists are still long way off the subject"
    odd, and I can't see that as a good example. I could say "The student's essay wandered a long way off the subject" which does use off with your chosen meaning. However, it does not work to mean that somebody is ignorant about a subject.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    I suppose if you say, "Can you build another floor to my house?" I might say,
    "That's far off my area of expertise; I'm an electrical contractor, not a general one."

    If you ask, "What is the interior temperature of the sun?" I might say, "That's far off from
    any areas of my knowledge; I'm a scholar in the humanities, not a scientist."

    Alternately, "My areas of knowledge--in the humanities-- are far off from astrophysics--the area your question involves."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Would you really use "far off" in those contexts, benny? In your examples I'd probably use " ... way outside my area ..."
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    I agree with Andy; I would not use "far off", or "off the matter", or "away from the matter" to express ignorance of a subject, and it would also sound odd to hear another native speaker say any of them. I might say "the subject is outside my field of knowledge."

    Getting back to Anna's direct question, your sentences do not express what you want them to say, and since they are not OK, you should not use them.
     
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