Is there a word or phrase that allows us to refers to what's around an issue/problem/subject?

Instead of addressing the specific subject directly, he looked at what's around the subject, although somewhat related to the subject in question.

I am trying to find a more concise way to express the above to sound more like a native speaker.

  • He skirted around the issue/problem/subject. Apr 15, 2021 at 6:11

2 Answers 2


Consider the word marginalia (marginal notes, at the edge or margin of something, which is peripheral to the bigger picture already mentioned in @Brad answer),

Instead of addressing the specific subject directly, he looked at marginalia, although somewhat related to the subject in question.

This word may not be of common use although it well addresses the idea of relegating the attention to side issues.


The bigger picture

the big picture, the whole situation, as opposed to particular parts of it: Ref C.E.D.

"Look at the big picture" means look at the whole issue, not just one little part of it. Like, if you are only concerned with your personal economic interests, you might say that you should buy the cheapest food you can buy. But if you look at the big picture, there are many more important issues that should factor in to which food you should buy.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer. Unless you want to highlight specific parts of the question, there's no need to repeat it entirely in your answer. Users know where the question can be found, at the top of the page; if everybody starts doing this, it makes the pages much longer. Therefore I've approved the suggested edit.
    – Glorfindel
    Apr 15, 2021 at 6:08
  • The reason I post the question I am answering is because numerous times I have answered a question, it has then been edited and I have been marked down for not answering the new question. Therefore I will continue as I have previously. Until this behaviour is prohibited.
    – Brad
    Apr 15, 2021 at 6:16
  • 3
    That behaviour (editing questions in a way that invalidates existing answers) is already forbidden: see e.g. meta.stackexchange.com/q/177173/295232 and meta.stackexchange.com/q/187402/295232. You can just rollback the edit to the question in those cases.
    – Glorfindel
    Apr 15, 2021 at 6:19
  • 1
    (FWIW this situation is being discussed on Meta: ell.meta.stackexchange.com/q/5454/18673)
    – Glorfindel
    Apr 15, 2021 at 6:20

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