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 ?
Army officials said they are going through the budget with a fine-toothed comb to cut programs that don't fall under the priorities.
For average Americans, it's the time of year when the Internal Revenue Service pours over our finances with a fine-toothed comb. For the ultra rich, however, the scrutiny is even greater.
1 Brush your hair then backcomb the roots with a fine-toothed comb to add texture (it also helps to hold any pins in place).
MANILA -- Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Nancy Binay intend to go over with a fine-toothed comb the Department of Social Welfare and Development's 2014 budget, particularly the increased allocation for the DSWD's cash doleout program.
The nits can then be removed with a fine-toothed comb or tweezers.
Ch Insp Kerry Blakeman said: "We will be going through the property with a fine-toothed comb - if there are any clues, even the tiniest fragment, which may shed light on what's happened to Shauna I'm confident we'll find it.
They took the opportunity to go through the facility with a fine-toothed comb," said Mr.
A second investigator, who did not know the results of the first inspection, applied conditioner to wet the hair and combed from roots to ends with a fine-toothed comb. The conditioner was wiped on white paper and the objects trapped examined with a magnifying glass.
"I go through transactions with a fine-toothed comb now."
The Transportation Ministry already has created a special commission made up of public- and private-sector officials, who will go over each proposal with a fine-toothed comb.
This is why TCMP audits historically have been done with a fine-toothed comb. Joint filers, for instance, had to provide a marriage certificate and those claiming dependent exemptions had to provide children's birth certificates.
POLICE investigating ex-First Minister Henry McLeish's office finances said yesterday they were still going through his files "with a fine-toothed comb".
Bug busting involves combing conditioner-saturated hair with a fine-toothed comb to try to clear the infection by removing the lice by hand.
INSECTICIDE lotion is twice as effective as "bug-busting" - wet combing with a fine-toothed comb - for treatment of head lice, according to a new study published in The Lancet medical journal.