Among the heaps of results that the word mark has, we find the following: “target”, “objective”. Hit the mark , “hit the target”. Off the mark? “Off target”.
As you can see, off the mark means that someone missed the target. However, don’t think we’re talking about your favorite sport, archery. No: the language here is figurative, and off the mark is used to refer to wrong decisions, estimates or theories.
A good translation of off the mark, then, is “mistaken”.
However, this translation alone does not cover all the holes. Sometimes, it may make more sense to translate off the mark as “going far”. For example, if I say that my prediction of the game’s result “passed far” from the actual result, I could say: my forecast was off the mark .
Note that to say something is “very wrong” or “has gone too far”, you can use way as an augment: it’s way off the mark . Note more that there is another variant of this expression, this one a little less used: wide of the mark .
Check out the examples below to better understand how to use off the mark . Oh, and as always, don’t forget to write down some of the examples on Anki to better memorize them!
I never once said that! Your reporter’s account is completely off the mark .
I never said that! Your reporter’s version is totally wrong . (Note that in the sentence above, once, “once” is used to emphasize never, but it is impossible to translate. A translation that would communicate the same degree of emphasis would be something like: “I never even thought of that!”.)
I thought I knew what the real estate costs were around here, but wow, I was totally off the mark .
I thought I knew what was real costs here, but hey, I went away .
Their estimates were completely off the mark .
Their estimates were completely wrong .
His efforts to console her were off the mark .
His efforts to comfort her had gone a long way .
His criticisms are way off the mark .
His criticisms are totally wrong .
Bedini and Curzi were probably not far off the mark in their analysis.
Probably Bedini and Curzi weren’t too wrong in their analysis.
His answers on the test were just wide off the mark .
His answers on the test were simply wrong .
The forecast was off the mark .
The prediction went far .
Robinson didn’t think the story was so far off the mark .
Robinson did not think the story was so wrong .
Our cost estimate was way off the mark .
Our cost estimate went too far .
Her theory was way off the mark .
Her theory was totally wrong .