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I know that "off the beaten track" means "unusual". Can it be used before a noun and after a verb?

For example,

  • an off the beaten track place
  • This holiday is off the beaten track.

Is it used only when talking about things?

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As for the first usage, I'd hyphenate it: an off-the-beaten-track restaurant, e.g. After a verb is fine: That restaurant is off the beaten track. –  J.R. Sep 14 '12 at 9:51
    
I think “a restaurant off the beaten track” is preferable to previous forms; as in e.g. “At a restaurant off the beaten track we ordered dinner.” –  jwpat7 Sep 14 '12 at 14:25
    
@J.R. I think this rule applies when the phrase starts to get long. Like "It was a long-haul trip" looks fine. But when you start hyphenating four or five words together, it starts to look clumsy. It all depends on context, rhythm, etc, of course. –  Jay Sep 14 '12 at 16:17
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1 Answer

Yes, you can.

"Off the beaten track" means out of the ordinary or unusual, but that's not its only meaning. It can also mean in a remote location, or somewhere that's out of the way or out of a central, popular or touristy area.

You can use it as an attributive adjective:

They found a quiet off-the-beaten-track resort.

Like what @J.R. commented, you'll need hyphens to make an adjective out of a phrase.

You can also use it as a predicative adjective:

The farmhouse we stayed in was completely off the beaten track.


It's often used for things and places, but it can also be used to talk about people:

What do they think of you being so far off the beaten track?

Women Writers off the Beaten Track

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Nice answer, Cool Elf. Good examples. –  JLG Sep 14 '12 at 11:46
    
I appreciate that coming from you, @JLG –  Cool Elf Sep 14 '12 at 13:11
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