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cannot see the wood for the trees

 and cannot see the forest for the trees
Prov. Cannot perceive the overview or important things because of concentrating too much on details. The information presented in this textbook is so disorganized that I can't see the wood for the trees. The politician's opponents claimed that she couldn't see the forest for the trees, because she spent so much time trying to solve minor problems.
See also: cannot, see, tree, wood

not able to see the forest for the trees

Cliché allowing many details of a situation to obscure the situation as a whole. (Not able to is often expressed as can't.) The solution is obvious. You missed it because you can't see the forest for the trees. She suddenly realized that she hadn't been able to see the forest for the trees.
See also: able, forest, not, see, tree

not see the forest for the trees

to pay too much attention to details and not understand the general situation not see the wood for the trees Company officials were so involved in the talks, they couldn't see the forest for the trees and didn't realize their employees were willing to strike.
See also: forest, not, see, tree

can't see the wood for the trees

  (British, American & Australian) also can't see the forest for the trees (American & Australian)
if someone can't see the wood for the trees, they are unable to understand what is important in a situation because they are giving too much attention to details After you've spent years researching a single topic you get to a point where you can't see the wood for the trees.
See also: see, tree, wood

can't see the forest for the trees

Also, can't see the wood for the trees. Focus only on small details and fail to understand larger plans or principles, as in Alex argues about petty cash and overlooks the budget-he can't see the forest for the trees . This expression was already a proverb in John Heywood's 1546 collection.
See also: forest, see, tree
References in periodicals archive ?
He said that according to the PTI announcement of billion Tree Tsunami Forestation project as the project is for four years and the allocation of budget for this project is Rs.
Tenders are invited for Forestation And Horticulture Package Tc4b For Ntpl 2X500 Mw Ttpp At Tuticorin
The Landlord Muhammad Nawaz Khan voluntarily demolished 27 brick kilns in persuasion of Ministry of Environment and convinced to utilize his land for forestation under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
To compensate for the disruption of forest land, the user agency will have to undertake a forestation process on 759.
He called upon the elders of the area to make people aware with the advantages of forestation in the region.
The secretary said according to the rule, about 25 per cent of the total area of any country should be covered with forest but the rate of forestation in Pakistan was mere four per cent of the total land which was needed to be enhanced by meticulous efforts of all the stakeholders of the society.
That can free up land for forestation and it can stop land being de-forested to make way for grazing land for the production of animal products.
Tenders are invited for Provision of Forestation of state bare land in Zrnosko (Zaroshka) village, Pustec Commune.
He said that livelihood of the people depends upon forests but the ban on cutting results in wastage of wood resources, the issue of distribution of ownership and shamilat is involved and government can devise a mechanism of leasing lands to promote forestation.
Besides its urban transformation, forestation, social and cultural projects, Ankara has signed sister city protocols and contributed to peace, brotherhood, unity and solidarity among nations and become an example to Turkey and the world," Mayor Melih Gokcek said.
The projects includes a forestation on 134000 acres of land, distribution of 385000 plants , establishment of Zoo at Peshawar and Mardan enhancement of fish hatcheries for increasing the production of fish and establishment of Modern fish market at Peshawar.
Erdogan said unemployed people would work in forestation and environment projects, and projects to maintain, repair and clean schools.
He said that the provincial government under the vision of Imran Khan is determined for protection and forestation on maximum area of the province.