What grammatical error is in the following sentence:

Five thousand years ago, the ancient inhabitants of Orkney- a fertile, green archipelago of the northern tip of modern Scotland

In the solution it says:

The proposition of before northern tip has been used incorrectly.

Can anyone explain it to me why it is wrong and why 'off' should be used before northern tip?

  • Please, could you use a more explicative title?
    – Gabrer
    Feb 15, 2018 at 11:22

1 Answer 1

  • A green archipelago OF the northern tip of modern Scotland - doesn't really mean anything. It is not idiomatic. Or it could mean it is attached to the mainland. Which obviously - it isn't as it's... an island!

  • A green Archipelago OFF the northern tip of modern Scotland - correctly refers to the island being related to the northern tip of Scotland but some distance away.

Your 'solution' is not grammatical, by the way - maybe that's a typo or three - if it read like this, it might make more sense:

  • "the preposition 'of', before 'northern tip' - has been used incorrectly." (I think it's preposition here, not proposition!)

...Meaning - you need OFF with two f's - not OF, as the meaning is quite different.


When an island is 'off' something - it means 'somehow related - but some distance away' from it.

Other things can also be referred to as being 'off' something, for example:

  • the Globe Theatre lies off the main street
  • The market is off the main playing field
  • the living room lies off the dining room.


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