I have a friend who values perfect attendance at school above all else. Even if she knows it by heart the class is so boring that she can't possibly learn anything from it, she will still show up in class and stick to the very end, instead of doing something else that produces a greater utility for her. I want to help her "get rid of the mindset of valuing perfect attendance too much". Is the expression in bold idiomatic (NATURAL)?

Here's my two cents for what it's worth:

get out of the mindset that overvalues perfect attendance.


change the mindset that overvalues perfect attendance.

  • The phenomenon is called presenteeism but you are not looking for a single word.
    – mdewey
    Dec 3, 2020 at 18:08
  • 2
    Your friend sounds like a sensible person. It's the people who think they know everything and skip classes they don't value who get failing grades more often. Dec 4, 2020 at 9:18
  • It does seem like the intention of the question didn't get through properly. The lone answerer at the moment is suggesting idioms as in idiomatic phrases and not something that is very naturally used. Strange! And I thought "idiomatic" globally meant the same! Dec 4, 2020 at 11:23
  • For reference, the author was using the first definition of idiomatic as seen in lexico here: lexico.com/en/definition/idiomatic. Honestly I think this meaning is a bit confusing, my understanding of idioms is that the meaning of the phrase should not be directly discernible from the words themselves, but rely on the "tribal knowledge" of the phrase's meaning. It has nothing to do with how natural a sentence sounds, which makes it seem as though any correct English sentence is idiomatic.
    – mjjf
    Dec 4, 2020 at 15:49

2 Answers 2


get rid of the mindset of valuing perfect attendance too much

Yes, your original phrase sounds as though a natural speaker could have written or spoken it.

get out of the mindset that overvalues perfect attendance.

change the mindset that overvalues perfect attendance.

These two phrases were added to the question later on. It seems like you are looking for advice on the best way to express this sentiment. This is subjective, but both of these phrases also sound natural and a little less clunky than the original.


NOTE: The question has been changed since this answer was originally posted to clarify that by "idiomatic" the author meant "natural". Leaving this answer for anyone looking to understand if this sentence is an idiom.

Get rid of the mindset of valuing perfect attendance too much

This is not idiomatic. This phrase explicitly indicates what you are trying to convey with each word's dictionary definition. Idioms are phrases which convey a meaning that isn't obvious or deducible from the individual words.


  • "Hit the hay" - means to go to sleep
  • "Flew over your head" or "Whoosh" - used to imply that you took an obvious joke seriously (didn't get the joke)
  • "Bite the bullet" - if something is inevitable or uncomfortable, better to just get it over with than procrastinate

These are some idioms I think may fit your purpose:

  • I wonder who will get the better exam grades at the end of the course? Dec 3, 2020 at 18:48
  • @MichaelHarvey To be clear, not advocating one way or the other on attendance. Just answering the idiom question :)
    – mjjf
    Dec 3, 2020 at 20:17
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    @mjjf lol lol lol I think we've been talking at cross purposes. The meaning I was referring to by saying "idiomatic" was "using, containing, or denoting expressions that are natural to a native speaker." (excerpted from Lexico) I think it's more of a British usage, because I couldn't find the similar meaning in American dictionaries. But still many thanks!
    – Underwood
    Dec 4, 2020 at 4:31

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