avoir le nez dans le guidon

Overton

Senior Member
France/England
Out of curiosity... what would the English equivalent of this expression be?

It means that you are so much into what you're doing that you can't be objective enough to see if what you're doing is all right or not... we all know that feeling ;) !!

Any ideas??
 
  • kertek

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hello,

    Maybe: "you can't see the forest for the trees?" Although this is less about subjectivity and more about not being able to get an overall view of something because you're so involved with the details.
     

    fruey

    Member
    Britain, English (but resident in France)
    "nez dans le guidon" comes from the Tour de France I believe, a cyclist hunched forward with his nose over the handlebars.

    So it would be "focused on what you're doing", "engrossed in your work", something like that?

    I don't think forest for the trees conveys the same meaning.
     

    fruey

    Member
    Britain, English (but resident in France)
    J'avais le nez dans le guidon = > I was engrossed in my work

    Et ben, parfois on ne voit pas la solution quand on a le nez dans le guidon ~= Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees

    I'm still largely in favour of the first option, the second seems forced even if I try to bring the context of the original French closer to the forest and the trees.
     

    kertek

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Or how about to be/to get wrapped up in something?

    "I got so wrapped up in the project that it was hard to be objective about it."
     

    Chicago Boy

    Member
    English, US
    Aupick said:
    Other possibilities:

    tunnel vision
    to be wearing blinkers

    Both are a bit too negative, I feel, despite what Wikipedia says about the first.
    It may be a US vs. UK thing but the expression here is wearing "blinders"
     

    zam

    Senior Member
    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    french4beth said:
    How about "I had my nose to the grindstone (and couldn't see what was going on around me)"?
    That's used in BE as well, meaning to 'work hard'/'knuckle down' / 'to put your back into it'.

    I'd translate it as '(va falloir) en mettre un coup', '(travailler) d'arrache-pied'
     

    Overton

    Senior Member
    France/England
    Hmmm... to me "avoir le nez dans le guidon" does not just mean that you are absorbed in you work, working hard, focused on what you are doing; it also means that you are so absorbed that you are "not able to get an overall view of something because you're so involved with the details", as kertek said.
    Maybe the only way round it is to say:
    "I'm so absorbed in my work that I can't see the forest for the trees"
    Would that work?
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Thanks, Overton!

    I would also agree with kertek re: "Can't see the forest for the trees" (but I've never heard 'Can't see the wood the trees' - very colorful!).

    I just found this:
    Some men go through a forest and see no firewood
    which is described as an 'English proverb' […]
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I know the idiom as 'can't see the wood for the trees'. I must admit though that 'wood for the trees' loses a googlefight 751000 - 188000
    Me too, 'can't see the wood for the trees' is the only version I've ever heard and I have been speaking English for a very long time… Maybe it's a regional thing, or they say 'forest' in Scotland or Wales, or the US or Canada or something…
     

    Katie1917

    Member
    English - England
    Me too, 'can't see the wood for the trees' is the only version I've ever heard and I have been speaking English for a very long time… Maybe it's a regional thing, or they say 'forest' in Scotland or Wales, or the US or Canada or something…
    I've only heard "can't see the wood for the trees", never the forest. And if forest wins on google hits, that's easily explained by there being more Americans in the world than English people
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Among the several excellent suggestions above, I'd go with "to be so caught up in/absorbed by/lost in that, to have one's nose to the grindstone to the point that"... It sems to me that "that one can't see the forest for the trees (I've never heard 'wood', but I'm a US speaker)/have blinkers on" goes beyong the original question.
     
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