The man in glasses


The man with glasses

Is it grammatically correct to say with or in glasses? I've heard both, but the first seems to prevail a little bit more, though.

Googling didn't help a lot, I found one discussion only (*) where many native speakers said 'in glasses' didn't sound strange, yet they'd use 'with glasses'.

* http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2499988

closed as off-topic by Edwin Ashworth, Robusto, tchrist, Drew, Ellie Kesselman Mar 13 '15 at 10:17

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    Welcome to EL&U. Before we can answer, we'd need to know why you think one or the other is incorrect. Whether a person, a view, or whiskey, either with or in can be perfectly fine. – choster Mar 12 '15 at 22:06
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    In the UK, I'd say wearing glasses outperforms with glasses, which outperforms in glasses. That's not supported by these Google Ngrams, though. But in glasses comes consistently last, with the Google US corpus also. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 12 '15 at 22:21
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    @EdwinAshworth I am extremely sceptical of Google Ngrams, especially as regards British usage. No one has yet told me who audits this information. Like you I feel sure that wearing glasses would significantly outperform with glasses in the UK. – WS2 Mar 12 '15 at 22:27
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    I cannot tell what the question is here. – tchrist Mar 12 '15 at 22:59
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    I put my teeth in a glass. Does that count? – Hot Licks Mar 12 '15 at 23:55

Either is correct. As others have commented, "with" seems more common than "in".

I would suggest that unless you want to imply that the glasses are the only distinguishing feature of a person, stick with "wearing" or "with" for glasses—reserve "in" for items of clothing, which do a better job of enclosing/obscuring at least a part of a person.

Not that it wouldn't be a perfectly acceptable compliment to say "You look good in glasses."

(hmmmm... Is there anywhere that people still call them "spectacles" or "specs"?)

  • 1
    Don't know about spectacles or specs, but I've heard people referring to glasses--particularly reading glasses--as "cheaters." Don – rhetorician Mar 12 '15 at 23:59

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