Is the following sentence right:

speaking off-topic about ordinary everyday problems not only can distract the students but also wastes a lot of time.

I want to know if using the phrase "off-topic" is ok here.

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Your use of "off-topic" is fine, but the lack of parallelism in your choice of verbs is a bit jarring. Would the following sentence be an acceptable alternative? Speaking off-topic about everyday problems and ordinary concerns not only distracts other students but also wastes a lot of time.

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Yes, but it is better, in my opinion, to just delete it. Your sentence and your message is understood without it.

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  • And I'd put a comma between ordinary and everyday unless you are, in principle, using ordinary as an adverb. – Stu W Nov 30 '15 at 16:22

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