Archive for March 16, 2010

idiom: off the top of one’s head

zo

Today, I have another idiom for you: off the top of one’s head. This is used when we say something without having the chance to really think about it before. It is usually used when talking about suggestions, ideas or when answering a question. For example:

A: Do you know of any good French restaurants in this area?

B: I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but there might be some.

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A: I don’t know of any good people in our company for the position of HR manager.

B: Really? Off the top of my head I can think of at least five people, and I’m sure there must be a lot more.

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A: What color do you think we should paint the living room?

B: Off the top of my head I would say green, but maybe we should think about it a little more.

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A: Do you know what  the capital of Spain is?

B: Off the top of my head I’d say Madrid, but it could be Barcelona. You’d better look it up on the Internet.

As you can see, this idiom is usually used as a response to someone’s question. Also, we almost always use it when talking about ourselves so we say “off the top of my head”, rather than “your head”, “his head”, etc.

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