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  1. #1
    taked4700 is offline Member
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    Default twinkle in his eye/eyes

    Hi,

    I just came across a sentence: "There was an amused twinkle in Santa's eyes."

    Is this idiomatic? I guess it should be 'eye', not 'eyes'.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: twinkle in his eye/eyes

    Quote Originally Posted by taked4700 View Post
    Hi,

    I just came across a sentence: "There was an amused twinkle in Santa's eyes."

    Is this idiomatic? I guess it should be 'eye', not 'eyes'.

    Thanks in advance.
    Why one eye and not both?

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: twinkle in his eye/eyes

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Why one eye and not both?
    Because if you a twinkle in both eyes, you could be on the verge of crying, which isn't what the idiom is trying to imply.

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: twinkle in his eye/eyes

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Because if you a twinkle in both eyes, you could be on the verge of crying, which isn't what the idiom is trying to imply.
    I think "amused" pretty much discards that possibility.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: twinkle in his eye/eyes

    In BrE, I generally hear eye, but the plural sounds OK too.

  6. #6
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: twinkle in his eye/eyes

    I have to say the the whole twinkle in his eye makes me a bit dubious about trusting this Santa with my kids.

    b
    PS Explanation: there is an idiom meaning 'before you were born': '..when you were no more than a twinkle in your father's eye'.

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: twinkle in his eye/eyes

    I would say:

    - There's a twinkle in his eye!
    - He has twinkly eyes.
    - He's a twinkly-eyed young man.

    I feel a difference depending on whether we use the singular or the plural. Using the plural literally describes the appearance of the eyes. "To have a twinkle in your eye" usually suggests that you're looking a bit cheeky, like you might have some naughtiness in mind.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  8. #8
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: twinkle in his eye/eyes

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    ...
    ... "To have a twinkle in your eye" usually suggests that you're looking a bit cheeky, like you might have some naughtiness in mind.
    And if an elderly man might have some naughtiness in mind, the appropriate idiom would be 'he still has lead in his pencil'.

    b
    PS This idiom should be usd with care.

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