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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    WOODS for Trees

    what is missing trees for woods

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: WOODS for Trees

    Welcome to the forums.

    Can you please explain your question?
    I'm not familiar with this expression.
    There is one that says "You can't see the the forest for the trees" which means you can't see the entire situation because you are too focused on the details.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: WOODS for Trees

    That's usually You can't see the wood for the trees ​in BrE.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 14-Mar-2016 at 11:05. Reason: Fixed minor typo

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    #4

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: WOODS for Trees

    Even some native speakers misunderstand the phrase "... can't see the wood for the trees". They seem to think that "wood" is used as the collective (uncountable) noun for pieces of wood, ie the material from trees. It's not. It's the singular countable noun meaning "forest".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: WOODS for Trees

    It might be a Britishism. Where I come from, it's can't see the tree for the forest.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  6. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: WOODS for Trees

    That makes little sense to me.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 02-Apr-2016 at 09:41. Reason: Fixed typo

  7. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: WOODS for Trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    That makes little sense to me.
    Or, in fact, it makes too much sense!

    The BrE version (I can't see the wood for the trees) basically says that I cannot see the forest because all these damn trees around me are in the way! Of course, the trees are the forest so the speaker is surrounded by the very thing they are looking for.

    Charlie's version (I can't see the tree for the forest) demonstrates a perfectly feasible scenario - the speaker is looking for one specific tree but is having trouble spotting it because they are standing in a forest. A person might genuinely go to a forest to look for one tree. As a perfectly feasible scenario, I don't think it makes a great idiom.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: WOODS for Trees

    The expression used in AmE is "he can't see the forest for the trees." It would not make sense the other way around.
    I am not a teacher.

  8. Newbie
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    #10

    Re: WOODS for Trees

    In American English, "he can't see the forest for the trees" means that he is so focused on minute details that he cannot understand the big picture. It loses all meaning if it is reversed.

    It is also interesting to note that in Britain, "wood" meaning "forest" is singular, whereas in America it is "woods" (plural).

    BrE: You won't be able to find him in that wood.

    AmE: You won't be able to find him in those woods.

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