At times, I am reluctant to use the word 'detail' simply because I actually don't want any detail.

Say, I just need dates of account opening and closure. That's it! How do I express it?

You just need some _________ like dates of your account
Sir, before I proceed, I need few ________ about yourself. Your name, and age.
Lost phone? Okay, tell me _________ like which company it was of and what was the IMEI number?

Now, in above all blanks the word 'things' works perfectly. But calling those all things 'thing' seems down to me!

On the other hand, 'details' means more, much...in content. Asking just two stuff or things is asking for the details? I'm not sure.

Is there any word that can replace detail if the required thing is NOT actually in detail but just one or two in number.

Note: I could think of using the word 'brief,' but as in the dictionaries, it does not fit here. In fact, to my surprise, brief, at times, is detailing!


2 Answers 2


detail noun 1 An individual feature, fact, or item. ‘we shall consider every detail of the Bill’ - ODO

Detail can be thought of as an antonym of gestalt or perhaps summary.

Think of a beach. The 'whole' (breeze, sound of water, people playing, sand, waves, etc) would be the gestalt; 'pleasant beach' might be a summary. But an individual shell would be a detail.

In your examples, you're looking for some details - perhaps just the name and age, or just the dates. It's fine to use the word "detail" or even the plural "details" in that context. It's not asking for a full download of information.

The 'full download of information' sense comes with the phrase "in detail" or "go into detail":

go into detail phrase Give a full account of something. ‘It is full colour and goes into detail on all aspects.’ - ODO

in detail phrase As regards every feature or aspect; fully. ‘we will have to examine the proposals in detail’ - ODO


We might explain that, probably for procedural reasons, we need to collect specific information.

Sir, before I proceed, I need few a specific details about you. First, your name, and age.

The use of specific helps to explain that we're not seeking exhaustive details but we are collecting precise information.

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