Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

to have (one's) eye on

To have (one's) eye on __

Today's idiom has two meanings

Idiom: to have (one's) eye on (something); used as a verb.

First Example: Hideka has her eye on a new purse at Nordstrom. It's a little expensive, so she is saving money so she can buy it next month.

Meaning: to have (one's) eye on something means that the person is working towards getting a thing he or she desires. In this example, Hideka likes the purse she saw at Nordstrom, and she is saving money with the purpose of buying the purse the following month. This idiom can apply to any desired noun, whether it's a physical object or a goal. Note that the "(one's)" is replaced by a possessive pronoun, and "(something)" is replaced with what is desired.

Here is another example of the same usage:

Second Example: Ben has had his eye on Elizabeth's position ever since she announced her retirement. In order to prove he deserves the promotion, he started working longer hours and taking work home with him.

Meaning: In this case, Ben desires Elizabeth's old position, so he is working harder in order to get a promotion. Please note that while any non-progressive verb tense is possible, simple present and present perfect are the most common verb tenses used with this meaning.

Idiom: to have (one's) eye on (someone); used as a verb.

First Example: Mrs. Johnson caught Billy cheating on last week's test. She told him, "I have my eye on you now." Now that she is watching him, he won't cheat again because he is afraid he will get caught.

Meaning: to have (one's) eye on (someone) means that the person is watching "(someone)" because he or she is expected to do something bad. In this case, Billy cheated, so Mrs. Johnson is watching Billy. Note that this idiom can be tricky due to the two people involved. The subject of the clause is the person watching, and the object is the person being watching. The possessive pronoun replacing "(one's)" should match the subject (or watcher), not the object (or person being watching).

Here is another example of the same usage:

Second Example: The salesman has had his eye on the children since they came into the store. He thinks they might steal some candy.

Meaning: In this case, the salesman is afraid the children might steal something, so he has been watching them. Please note that while any non-progressive verb tense is possible, simple present and present perfect are the most common verb tenses used with this meaning. However, if a progressive meaning is desired, the similar idiom "keep one's eye on" can be used; the above example could be replaced with "The salesman has been keeping his eye on the children..."

This idiom is from LSI's book "Reading Horizons," which is used in the Level 6 Reading classes. For more information, please visit http://www.languagesystems.com/