'meet/lock eyes with' vs 'make eye contact with'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by cool-jupiter, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. cool-jupiter Senior Member

    Hello, native speakers.

    I'm wondering if there is some difference between 'meeting/locking eyes with someone' and 'making eye contact with someone.' I mean, I think they mean the same action, but my interpretations are that making eye contact is an action that you take intentionally for communication purposes, while meeting eyes with someone is not necessarily an intentional behavior. What do you think about the following sentences?

    (A) I made eye contact with someone on the train, and I recoginized him as an old classmate of mine.

    (B) I met eyes with someone on the train, and I recoginized him as an old classmate of mine.

    I guess Sentence (A) is a bit awkward because you usually don't make eye contact with someone you haven't identified yet.

    Do I have them right? Thanks for your feedback!
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    You can make eye-contact with anybody, CJ. Of course, it is rude to stare at strangers, so most of us don't do that. :)

    Both A and B are possible, but A sounds ordinary to me. "Our eyes met" or "I locked eyes with her" are literary expressions. "Make eye-contact with somebody" is normal language if you are describing the moment when you and somebody else look at each other and make eye-contact.

    In your example, I'd probably use "recognize" by itself: I recognized an old friend of mine on the train. He was surprised to see me....
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
  3. cool-jupiter Senior Member

    Thanks owlman5 for your comment. Now I'm relieved to hear that there is no difference between them. For a non-native speaker like me, some English phrases are cans of worms. Thanks again so much!

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