Suppose an IELTS examiner asks me

"Do you live in the town or a city?"

If I answer

I have been living in a city for over 30 years.

and then talk a lot about cuisines, must-see places in my home town

Is the second part (cuisines, must-see places ) a little bit of off-topic?

by "off-topic", I mean

not relevant to the subject under discussion

  • Do you know the meaning of ‘off-topic’? Have you looked it up? May 24, 2020 at 10:07
  • 1
    Are you supposed to be having a conversation with the examiner, or giving a talk about the place where you live? May 24, 2020 at 12:58
  • I’m voting to close this question because it hasn't got much to do with learning English. You need to ask them that (the committee or whoever). In a normal conversation it'd be okay to continue talking about these things, but this in turn has nothing to do with English or learning English.
    – user3395
    May 24, 2020 at 14:33
  • I help prepare candidates for IELTS, and talking about cuisine and places to see when the question is simply asking where you live, is called going on a tangent. It is likely that the next question is "What do you like doing in your city/town?"
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 25, 2020 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


I'm guessing that your question is about the use of "off-topic". You may note from your dictionary definition that "off-topic' can be used as either an adjective or an adverb, but not as a noun.

So, you might say that extra information after you answer the examiner's question is "a little bit off-topic", but not "a little bit of off-topic.". That's because "off-topic" is not used as a noun.

"A little bit of X" is used where X is a noun, for example, "A little bit of salt"

"A little bit Y" can be used where Y is an adjective, for example, "A little bit strange" or "a little bit off-topic".

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