pays attention to details

  • Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Your sentence is rather strange, but I think you want "a meticulous person". Slightly less positive " a fastidious person".


    New Member
    it seems all the words are used to discribe a unpleasant character. is there anything positive?

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't think either of Arrius's suggestions is negative. Many people would like to be called meticulous, or fastidious. I see a difference between them, however:

    Meticulous applies to detail in work - getting everything exactly right. Mathematicians need to be meticulous.

    Fastidious applies to detail in dress or food, for instance. I knew someone who preferred to die of bowel cancer, than to have an operation which would have left him with a colostomy bag. We could describe that decision as showing how fastidious he was, but not say that this showed he was meticulous.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Pedantic (negative implications) Sees things narrowly in detail.

    Detail-oriented (negative/positive). I hyphenate this, but strictly speaking it is 2 words. Some people will feel that a detail-oriented person might not see the "big picture" (the overall situation).


    New Member


    One entry found.

    Main Entry:me·tic·u·lous Pronunciation: \mə-ˈti-kyə-ləs\ Function:adjective Etymology:Latin meticulosus fearful, irregular from metus fearDate:1827 : marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details <a meticulous researcher> synonyms see careful


    New Member
    English - US
    While not a literal match, colloquially the term "obsessive compulsive" is used to described this type of behavior.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    We quite a long way away from the OP of this thread. A "person who pays attention to details" sounds in no way negative to me. "Meticulous" and "thorough" have already been suggested. A person who pays attention to details in the sense of being extraordinarily aware of detail might be called "perceptive".

    Xavier da Silva

    Senior Member
    Hello everyone,

    I am going to ask this question here as the context is the same on the thread (O.P). My question: Is it natural/correct to use "detail" in the examples I made below, meaning/context (= pay attention to details)?

    a. Mary is a detail woman.
    b. John is a detail man.
    c. I am a detail person.
    d. I am not a detail person.

    Thank you in advance!


    Senior Member
    English - US
    It is possible to say informally "I am an X person" with almost any adjective or noun ("I'm a dog person"), but it would be much better in this case to say "a detail-oriented person." It's clearer and we know that you don't detail cars (clean and polish all the small details of a car) for a living.
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