"It took some time to select just the right shopping complex, off just the right highway and just the right distance from Seoul, to house a 59,000-square-meter store. (•••) In all, it took about 6 years for Ikea to unveil its inarguaral store."

  • In the above sentence, I think the part between commas (, off ~ Seoul,) is there as the supplement to 'the (right) shopping complex' and that the 'off' is a preposition because of the location of two commas=(,off ~ Seoul,). Also I guess the 'off' is omitted after 'and', i.e., 'and (off) just the right distance ~'. Am I right or wrong...?-?

+and if that's the case, does the preposition 'off' mean 'near to'? (not away from)

2 Answers 2


X is off the road

means that you must get off the road and travel some distance to get to X. After all, few shopping complexes actually sit on the public road.

X is just off the road

means that the distance to be traveled is short, usually measured in meters rather than kilometers.

So "off the road" is a prepositional phrase acting as an adjective. Preceded by "just" is acting as an adverb describing how little distant from the road.

I'd advise against trying to use punctuation to decipher grammar: punctuation does not exist in the spoken language.

This is a poorly written sentence. What it literally means

a good shopping complex off a well traveled road and close to Seoul

What I suspect was meant was

a good shopping complex close to a well traveled road and to Seoul

The latter thought is rather obvious so I suspect that the writer wanted to dress it up rhetorically with a bit of parallelism.

just the right complex, just off just the right road and just the right distance from Seoul

  • 1
    I suspect you're right about "just off just the right road" being the intended meaning, but "off just the right road" still makes sense. If some highways are little used, poorly maintained, or too congested, a proprietor might reasonably want her business to be accessible by a better highway.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 21:11
  • @Juhasz That is why I first gave a literal translation. I too am not sure what the author intended, but I do doubt that Ikea wanted to be 20 kilometers away from a highway, no matter how good that highway might be. It is also possible that we did not get an exact transcription of what the author actually wrote Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 21:34
  • I don't think it's fair to say the cited text is "poorly written". It's slightly stylised, and arguably it would be more consistent to include a preposition in the third prerequisite (and at just the right distance from Seoul), but just because the syntax might be somewhat challenging for non-native speakers doesn't mean it's in any way "flawed". On the other hand, your final line, featuring just the right complex, just off just the right road is to my mind appalling, because it clumsily juxtaposes two different implication of the word just in a very confusing way. Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 21:40
  • Thank you for the explanation with helpful examples! So.. it's not '(off) just the right distance'. I thought that way because of 'and' but, now that just sounds weird... By the way that sentence, unfortunately and equally sadly, is the exact transcription , the first sentence of a paragraph from some random English test for ESL students. (The (•••)part is aboout how IKEA took some time to decide concept that would be sold. So I got rid of that part and only added the last line to show what this is about.)
    – longne
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 23:39
  • @FumbleFingers My last sentence is not what I would write because I would not try to dress up such a pedestrian observation at all. Depending on what I intended, I would have written something close to one of the first two sentences. Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 15:20

I would go with: just off the highway...if you can follow up with a positive upbeat clear statement or idea...as the word off itself may be a turn off,,,(no pun intended)...for some...

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