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If Susan had kept her ear to the ground, she wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for a promotion.

If Susan had had a word in someone’s ear, she wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for a promotion.

Are there differences in meaning between that two sentences?

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closed as general reference by Matt Эллен, coleopterist, J.R., tchrist, Mahnax Aug 29 '12 at 3:19

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Wiktionary has entries for both of them: 1, 2. ODO does too: 1, 2. –  coleopterist Aug 23 '12 at 12:47
    
word in one's ear vs ear to the ground. If there is anything you don't understand, please edit your question to explain. –  Matt Эллен Aug 23 '12 at 12:47

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

“To keep an ear to the ground” is basically listening, in the sense of being aware of gossip and rumours. It is figurative, based on the story that trackers could hear approaching horses and so on, by laying with their ear on the ground.

“To have a word in someone’s ear” means to speak with someone in confidence.

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