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The devil is in the detail

刊登日期: 2018.10.26
作者: Grace Tse  

When you visit shopping malls or theme parks this week, you will see a lot of spooky decorations such as creepy cobwebs, grey skull masks and black balloons. In recent years, Halloween(萬聖節)events have become more popular among young people. Thus, some people think that the saying “the devil is in the detail” originated from Halloween traditions.

However, this expression actually derives from another German proverb, “Der liebe Gott steckt im detail” (“God is in the detail”). The saying “God is in the detail” means that we have to pay attention to the details, which are important, if we want to make our task or plan successful.

One day in future, when you are offered an employment contract, your parents might advise you, “Read carefully. The devil is in the detail.”

In other words, the contract looks good, but the details may contain problematic terms that make the job less attractive and advantageous to you.

This saying can appear in some other patterns:

The devil is in the details. ( 魔鬼就在細節裏。)

The devil lies in the detail.

One of its earliest English versions appeared in a book entitled “The Community of Europe” written by a British journalist, Richard Mayne, in 1963:

“On the principle that ‘the devil is in the details’, what should have been a merely formal occasion developed into a debate about the Community’s official languages ....”

Some of you may wish to experience a scary Halloween on 31st October. However, it is also important to remember all holy saints on All Saints Day(諸聖節)(1st November) and to pray for the souls of the dead on All Souls’ Day(追思已亡節)(2nd November). 

Glossary

Spooky
詭異的
Creepy
令人毛骨悚然的
Employment contract
僱傭合約
Terms
條款
Advantageous
有利
Scary
可怕的
Remember
銘記
Souls
靈魂

 

 

 

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