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  1. #1
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    bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    Hi,
    Could you help me, please? I canít understand the phrase. Our eyes always seem to look at one thing, not at many.
    He glanced along the wall to the picture of James Calver: the low forehead and the fanatic bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    TIA

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    The eyes of an obssessive, who had only one objective

  3. #3
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    Re: bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    A paraphrase might give a better idea perhaps...

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    Re: bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    Hi,
    Could you help me, please? I can’t understand the phrase. Our eyes always seem to look at one thing, not at many.
    He glanced along the wall to the picture of James Calver: the low forehead and the fanatic bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    TIA
    Hi, your sentence was of great interest to me, and I meant to rephrase it yesterday, but I thought Idol's parse was perfect.
    Now you mention it; I'll venture my childish version:

    He moved his eyes along the wall and finally to the picture of James Calver: his eyes were fixed on the low forehead of James Calver and on James' eyes which, were obsessively enthusiastic and focus-on-one-thing(looking attentively at only one thing).

  5. #5
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    Re: bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The eyes of an obssessive, who had only one objective
    - I couldn't improve on this. It's worth pointing out that the not-very-common word 'bent' (that is, not very common with this meaning - "having a focus on/meaning to/having a (strong) intention to'") tends to be used in collocations that involve something bad - 'bent on mischief', 'Hell-bent'...

    b

  6. #6
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    Re: bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    - I couldn't improve on this. It's worth pointing out that the not-very-common word 'bent' (that is, not very common with this meaning - "having a focus on/meaning to/having a (strong) intention to'") tends to be used in collocations that involve something bad - 'bent on mischief', 'Hell-bent'...b
    Thanks, Bob for the extra knowledge.

    Just to make sure of one thing, generally speaking, bent on doesn't necessarily refer to the collocations that involve something bad, right?
    For example,

    He is bent on winning at all costs.

    Winning is not so bad for me, after all.


  7. #7
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    Re: bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by piousoul View Post
    Thanks, Bob for the extra knowledge.

    Just to make sure of one thing, generally speaking, bent on doesn't necessarily refer to the collocations that involve something bad, right?
    For example,

    He is bent on winning at all costs.

    Winning is not so bad for me, after all.
    - but to me 'bent on winning at all costs' has a hint of badness about it - maybe it suggests an unhealthy obsession with winning.

    He had already lost all his money, but he was bent on winning at all costs; so he staked his house on the next hand of poker.


    b

  8. #8
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    Re: bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    Hi, Bob,
    As far as I know, bent is a neutral word, that is, it could be used in cases of either good or bad. Here are a few more examples from a dictionary just to make sure:

    1. He has a bent for art.
    2. He was bent on making them happy.

  9. #9
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    Re: bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    1 this sort of 'bent' isn't quite the same - it's a leaning or tendency or ability (with no trace of intention - which is always present in the words 'bent on'.
    2 OK - that one works. But I think there's still a tendency for negative collocations/connotations. I don't see how I can justify my position without some clever work on the BNC though, so I'll let it drop .

    b

  10. #10
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    Re: bent-on-one-thing eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    2 OK - that one works. But I think there's still a tendency for negative collocations/connotations. I don't see how I can justify my position without some clever work on the BNC though, so I'll let it drop .

    b
    I agree with you, Bob. While it's possible to use "bent on doing something" in a neutral sense, my gut tells me (too) there is usually at least a hint of obsession (or a negative connotation) when "bent on doing" is used.

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