1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

I keep my ears out !!

Discussion in 'English Only' started by claude23, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. claude23 Senior Member

    normandy
    FRANCE
    Good afternoon,


    Is it correct I keep my ears out in case I hear anything about your job hunting ?


    Thank you,

    Claude.
     
  2. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    The expression is "keep an ear out." Also "keep your/my ears open." Out with the indefinite article, open with the possessive pronoun-- strictly idiomatic, I doubt if there's a grammar rule for it.
    .
     
  3. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    I'd keep an eye out instead of an ear.

    I'll keep an eye out for possible jobs in your field.

    I'll keep my ear to the ground is another possibility.
     
  4. Reving Lane

    Reving Lane Junior Member

    Paris
    USA, English
    Here's what I hear most often:
    I'll keep an eye out...
    I'll keep my ears open...
     
  5. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    "Keep an ear out" is an odd expression, but it's firmly fixed in AE idiom. It goes back to the West, possibly to Colonial times, when the woods and mountains could be dangerous to travel in. It got awful cold in winter, but there were times you couldn't bundle up the way you might've done in the old country, where you didn't have to listen for Indians or a bear. Rather than scarf up or pull your hat down, or get all the way snug in your bedroll-- you had to keep an ear out.

    I'm not saying "keep an eye out" is wrong-- on the contrary. But I don't know the etymology, and would suspect it comes from the expression about keeping an ear uncovered so you could listen for danger.

    "Keep an eye out" doesn't have near the implication of alertness to danger-- it's more a hunting term, and I guess that would include job-hunting.

    River's "keep an ear to the ground" is also an Old West expression-- it's the way Indians used to check for distant hoofbeats, since sound travels further in solid earth than in air. Sound moves even faster in iron, so you can put your ear to a railroad track and hear a train coming from miles off.
    .
     
  6. Sabelotodo Senior Member

    Great Lakes Region, USA
    English, United States
    I would say...
    "I'll keep an ear out in case I hear anything about a job opening."
    OR
    "I'll keep an eye out for a job opening when I read the newspaper."
    ...otherwise it's rather illogical.
     
  7. whatonearth Senior Member

    UK, English
    I agree with what Sabelotodo has said above
     
  8. Kordaff New Member

    English, USA
    Could be related to 'Got your ears on?' from Citizen's Band radio lingo:

    Krusty Badger: Breaker two four.
    BrokenAngel: Go ahead breaker.
    Krusty Badger: Rubber Duck you got your ears on? Come back.
     
  9. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Uhhh....I think the Old West predates trucking by a century or more. See post #5.
    .
     
  10. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    Keep one's ears peeled is another expression that is quite common.
     
  11. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    To keep an ear cocked is another not so often used expression to mean the same thing.
     
  12. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    ... isn't that eyes, not ears? It always sounded completely excruciating and rather Edgar Allan Poe, but memorable.
     
  13. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    I always thought it a bit strange too. If you Google "keep your ears peeled" you'll see that there are 12,100 listings. It's probably people who say, "keep their eyes cocked". :D
     
  14. la reine victoria Senior Member

    'Keep an ear out' is perfectly natural to me. I used to say to my sons, 'Daddy will soon be home, keep an ear out for him.'

    Also, if someone were looking for a job, I'd say 'I'll keep an ear out and let you know if I hear of anything.'

    Never used in the plural. It's always 'I'll keep an ear out.'
     
  15. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Has it got anything to do with "Friends, Romans, countrymen...lend me your ear."??
     

Share This Page