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You can't see the forest FOR the trees or you can't see the forest THROUGH the trees?
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2013/10/02
12:39am
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http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Can%27t%20see%20the%20forest%20through%20the%20trees.  

This term means someone is so simple minded that they can't figure out the simplest problems. Their minds are like great big empty voids of any kind of logical thought. This is why even though the can see the trees their simple minds can't grasp that's the forest.
Ray : Did you see that guy trying to change his flat tire, it took him an at least an hour.

Tony :That guy can't see the forest through the trees.

2013/10/02
5:50am
Glenn
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Google ngrams tells a tale of a tried and true phrase of "the forest for the trees" vs. a johnny-come-lately "the forest through the trees."
Finally seeing the forest

I hope this Google ngrams helps people finally see the forest here.

2013/10/03
6:52am
RobertB
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'Through' is always good for 'smart': She can see through all the subterfuge and hypocrisy.  That could be why the confusion.

2014/07/04
3:11am
Robert
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Martha Barnette said
… analogous expressions in other languages. Anyone know of one?

Part of a most magnificent and terrible poem:

Plus drôle que le poisson
Qui vit dans la mer sans savoir la mer.

 By one translation with a tiny bit of liberty,

even stranger than the fish
that couldn't see the ocean for the water.

 

No, that's too much liberty!

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