Thank you for your answer, but you are missing the point of the question.

Does the above sentence mean that the respondent missed the question completely or just did not hit the nail on the head but still answered parts of it?

  • If partly: Is there consensus on how much he still hit? 20%, 50%, 80%? So If someone misses the point is it just slightly or there is barely something relevant?
  • If completely: Is there an alternative word or phrase to express a "partial miss"?

Example usage: I ask a travel question on stackexchange about how I can best travel through Thailand by car during monsoon season. I get a long and elaborate answer that describes the authors experiences with a motorbike during dry season. While I can use some of his recommendations, he forgot to read my whole question or just ignored my requirements and thus his answer does not really address my needs.

  • 1
    It means they did not understand the reason the question was asked and therefore the answer provided did not address the concerns of the asker.
    – Jim
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 18:22
  • Jim's answer is another example of the situation I am trying to describe. He gave a generic answer without addressing the quantitative aspect of the answer that is the core of the question. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 18:31
  • A point is not extensive: this is a hit-or-miss situation. The point means the one important (to be decided by the person setting the question) point. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 18:48
  • 2
    The expression is not typically used in the manner for which you're requesting an answer. It doesn't apply to a partially right answer (either something close but not exact, or an incomplete answer or list). It is used when the answer is a non sequitur. The typical situation is that the answerer misunderstood the question, or the asker didn't realize the question could be interpreted in different ways and it was interpreted differently than intended.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 19:14
  • 2
    In your closing example, you could use "missed the point" because the answer doesn't respond to what you asked. The fact that it contained some potentially useful information that's vaguely related doesn't really change the fact the the author missed the point ( a key defining element) of the question.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


The expression "missing the point" could be replaced with "missing the purpose". The questioner had a particular type of answer in mind which the responder didn't give. It is irrelevant how anyone would quantify the correctness of the answer. So yes, this is a good response to give for the example. I might say "that's not quite what I was asking" to be polite.

  • Not sure how I managed to answer such an old question, but I think I found this under unanswered questions and didn't check the date.
    – Natalie
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 5:21

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