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 ?

  • 1
    Would you like a word for someone that pays attention to trivial things at the expense of the important things? – marcellothearcane Aug 6 '19 at 9:09
  • Yes, that’s exactly what I’m looking for. – Shorecoral Aug 6 '19 at 9:15
  • I think this is duplicate of this thread. – Zico Aug 6 '19 at 9:16
  • @Zico related, but not a duplicate. See my comment above. – marcellothearcane Aug 6 '19 at 9:44
  • Over concentration on details can be a symptom of a learning disability. – Nigel J Aug 6 '19 at 10:06

We could say that she -

cannot see the forest for the trees

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


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!

  • 1
    Thanks everyone – Shorecoral Aug 6 '19 at 12:22

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.


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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.