běn mò dào zhì

本末倒置

lit. to invert root and branch; fig. confusing cause and effect

to stress the incidental before the fundamental; to put the cart before the horse, attend to the superficial and neglect the essential

Example:

强调方法而牺牲内容, 无异于本末倒置。
Qiángdiào fāngfǎ ér xīshēng nèiróng, wúyìyú běnmòdàozhì.
To emphasize method at the expense of content is to put the cart before the horse