one small piece of a bigger puzzle


Senior Member

Absent context, would "one small piece" in the phrase "one small piece of a bigger puzzle" imply something very important or something trivial?

Thanks in advance!
  • easychen

    Senior Member
    We don't do "absent context" because in this case it could mean either one.
    Here's a quote from an article "Rise of the planet of the apes review":
    Meanwhile at the lab, production of the drug has continued, a new strain has been created and Caesar’s life becomes one small piece of a bigger puzzle that leads to (spoilers) the apes rising up.
    For more see here.

    Another quote from an article "Grapefruit linked to breast cancer":

    But the researchers and other experts said more research was still needed. While all this is interesting, I'm sure this is only one small piece of a bigger puzzle that shows us how our diet affects our health.
    For more see here.


    Senior Member
    American English
    So, do you think the usage of the phrase in those two quotes is the same?
    Yes, I think they're both small pieces of a larger puzzle (which, of course, it says). I think from the context you write, you determine the importance of any particular piece of a puzzle -- meaning that you have to write in that slant yourself if you'd like to accent its importance.
    < Previous | Next >