Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

(see/give) the (big/full) picture

see the big picturegive the full picture
Meaning(s)
1) understand or provide the entire perspective on something
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional HighSocial
    • see the big picture rather than focus on small details
  • Analysis

    The 'big picture' refers to focusing on an overarching idea or perspective rather than the details of something. The 'full picture' is the full or overall sense of a situation or topic, taking into account all related factors and consequences. When you 'see the big picture' or the 'full picture' you have a perspective of how your decisions will impact the future and don't get distracted by unimportant details. If you 'give someone a full picture' of something it means to give them a clear indication of what something is like without leaving anything important out.

  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. The statement Alex gave to the police did not give the full picture of what happened because he omitted the details that he thought would reflect badly on him.
    2. This book gives people the big picture when it comes to the historical context of the civil war.
    3. We are focusing on the details here, let's take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
  • Professional Examples (Advance)
    1. The CEO encourages innovation and freethinking at the company without ever losing sight of the bigger picture, which is to provide customers with affordable and easy-to-use products
    2. Lucy is a highly valued member of staff due to her ability to always be able to see the big picture rather than getting bogged down in small details.
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