an English question

@dufresne (137)
May 11, 2009 10:34am CST
In the sentence "If you don't know every aspect of what you're doing,down to the paper clips,you're setting yourself up for some unwelcome surprises.", Is "down to the paper clips" an English usage meaning "basically" or "fundamentally"? Because I can't track it in any dictionary.
2 responses
• United States
12 May 09
it means "to every little thing" like if you worked in an office you would say you know everything about the job,right down to where the paper clips are.
@beki710 (949)
11 May 09
"Down to the Paperclips" isn't a regular English Expression, it is just this one person's way of making a point. They are essentially saying that when you are organised in for example a company you need to know everything down to the last detail even those that are insignificant - and the person illustrates the insignificance through the metaphor of the paper clip. I hope that's understandable!