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We were reading a text in my English class and One of my students Lost the line. I pointed to the line we were reading and instead of following the text she said teacher you have beautiful nails. Now I am wondering if there’s an adjective, idiom or so which shows disapproval for

a person who pays attention to small and unimportant things ?

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    Would you like a word for someone that pays attention to trivial things at the expense of the important things? – marcellothearcane Aug 6 at 9:09
  • Yes, that’s exactly what I’m looking for. – Shorecoral Aug 6 at 9:15
  • I think this is duplicate of this thread. – Zico Aug 6 at 9:16
  • @Zico related, but not a duplicate. See my comment above. – marcellothearcane Aug 6 at 9:44
  • Over concentration on details can be a symptom of a learning disability. – Nigel J Aug 6 at 10:06
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We could say that she -

cannot see the forest for the trees

fail to grasp the main issue because of over-attention to details.

OR

has gone off on a tangent

to pursue a somewhat related or irrelevant course while neglecting the main subject.

Source- http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/go+off+on+a+tangent

Hope this helps!

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    Thanks everyone – Shorecoral Aug 6 at 12:22
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One could be pedantic

One could be nitpicky.

One could be splitting hairs.

They have generally negative connotations.

Is it's a good thing then:

One could be paying attention to details.

One could be thorough.

One could be attentive.

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In the context you gave you might say she is superficial. From Dictionary:

4.concerned with or comprehending only what is on the surface or obvious: a superficial observer.
5.shallow; not profound or thorough: a superficial writer.

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