with a fine-tooth comb

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with a fine-tooth comb

Very carefully and thoroughly. We need to go through these files with a fine-tooth comb to find that missing paperwork. Make sure to go through your thesis with a fine-tooth comb before you hand it in—you don't want your advisors wading through proofreading errors, do you?
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with a fine-tooth comb

or

with a fine-toothed comb

If you examine something with a fine-tooth comb or with a fine-toothed comb, you examine each small part of it very carefully. I have been through Ed's personal papers and letters with a fine-tooth comb. We will scrutinise our mistakes with a fine-toothed comb. Note: A fine-tooth comb is a comb with very thin teeth set very close together. It is used to remove lice and nits (= small insects and their eggs) from people's hair.
See also: comb

with a fine-tooth comb

(of examination or analysis) extremely thorough and detailed.
A literal fine-tooth comb is one with narrow teeth that are close together.
2003 CNN This budget has been gone over with a fine-tooth comb, and they don't see where another $3 billion or $4 billion in saving is going to come from.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Her barrister, Alex Greenwood, told the court Mr Way had since been through the family bank accounts with a fine tooth comb and was adamant his wife had not received all the thousands of pounds she was being accused of taking from the Department and Pensions.
In each case we were able to immediately secure the key data and work through it with a fine tooth comb.
Despite having a mouth-watering salary and inflation-proof pension that the real hardworking men and women of this country can only dream of attaining, they go through their contract with a fine tooth comb, searching for ways to make hay while the sun shines.
It is clear the members went through the budget with a fine tooth comb and that ratepayers will benefit from their hard work,'' said Joe Ramallo, spokesman for the mayor.
The police should be getting their finger out and going through all the tapes with a fine tooth comb and identifying all the troublemakers and arresting them.
She's still angry that the couple are getting married and takes her revenge by going through Fred's books with a fine tooth comb.
Hawaii Business goes over the final layout with a fine tooth comb until this issue goes to the printer in early July.
But we went through them with a fine tooth comb and in some cases requested almost the entire board to be redone because it didn't have the feel we were visualizing in the script.
All of the big corporate users of space with 20 or more leases are going to have to go through their data with a fine tooth comb because the consequences may be catastrophic," said Colacino.
Its staff went over the bike with a fine tooth comb and you can see their findings in the December issue.