Regular readers of this blog know that there are plenty of weird English words.
That’s because, like any language, English phrases are often metaphorical in nature.
Some even have their origins in misunderstandings that have since become standard.
Sometimes, though, English phrases are just what they seem.
How do you use “attention to detail” in a sentence?
You can use “attention to detail” to describe someone’s ability to notice small details.In most cases, you should pair “attention to detail” with an adjective like “good” or “poor,” but this isn’t required.
What “attention to detail” actually means
The meaning of this short phrase is fairly self-explanatory: It simply means that someone is good at paying attention to small details.
In a sentence, “attention to detail” is most commonly used to describe a quality that a person or activity has, needs, or displays.
For example, you might describe a specific job by saying it requires attention to detail.
Alternatively, you can use this phrase to describe a person’s ability to focus.
Having a strong attention to detail is important in many situations.
In fact, it’s so important to many businesses that researchers have actually developed a test to measure someone’s attention to detail.
Most of the time, though, someone using this phrase is just referring to the general concept and not a scientific measure.
Pairing “attention to detail” with adjectives
One interesting thing about the phrase “attention to detail” is that it can be paired with positive or negative adjectives.
If you want to show that someone is able to pay close attention, you can pair the phrase with a positive adjective from the list below.
To show that someone is bad at noticing details, you can use one of the negative adjectives.
- Positive – good, strong, high
- Negative – poor, weak, low
If no adjective is used, the phrase suggests a positive trait. In other words, “attention to detail” and “good attention to detail” are synonyms.
The grammar behind using “attention to detail” in a sentence
Grammatically speaking, “attention to detail” is a noun phrase.
The noun is “attention,” meaning a focus or close observation of something.
The remainder of the phrase, “to detail,” describes where the attention is directed.
Keep in mind that, if you’re pairing the phrase with an adjective, you should place them before the phrase or connect them to the end of the phrase with a linking verb or verb phrase (“is” or “used to be,” for instance).
You should never say “attention to good detail,” as the adjective needs to modify the entire noun phrase.
Outside of adjective placement, the phase often follows words like “has” or “requires” but there are no specific grammar rules to keep in mind.
Example sentences for “attention to detail”
“For a doctor, attention to detail is an essential skill.”
In this sentence, the phrase “attention to detail” is used without an adjective. Since skills are generally considered something positive, however, the meaning is still clearly positive.
Jan: “Her attention to detail is poor, but I think she has a lot of promise.”
This conversation describes a person’s attention to detail with an adjective, “poor,” to show that she isn’t good at paying attention to small details.
Note that “poor” is connected to the noun phrase by a helping verb, “is,” rather than appearing in front of it.
As our article on kimono vs yukata points out, a yukata and a kimono are both types of Japanese clothing.
However, a yukata is a lightweight, summer kimono, making this choice by the director a classic example of how important it is to pay attention to the details in a movie.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.