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Ex. What would be right:

  1. ... that caught everyone's eye.
  2. ... that caught everyone's eyes.

marked as duplicate by Nathaniel, choster, michael_timofeev, Chenmunka, Brian Hooper Dec 2 '15 at 15:28

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    In fact, "to catch someone's eye" is an idiom, not "eyes." The question is not about everyone being singular or plural. HTH. – Kris Jul 2 '15 at 7:44
  • "Someone's eye" is fine because we are talking about one eye. But if I want to say "Everyone's eye", should it be "eye" or "eyes" because there is more than one eyes involved.? – Nicky Jul 2 '15 at 7:51
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    @kris I don't think that's actually true. The question is asking what happens when instead of catching a singular eye of a particular someone you try to catch the individually singular eyes of many people. This, as far as I can tell, is not that trivial to answer. I remember reading a blog post on the Language Log about this issue. I will try and find it. – DRF Jul 2 '15 at 7:51
  • @kris There we go. This seems to be the one I was thinking about. It deals with ostrich heads being buried in an opinion by Judge Richard A. Posner but the idea seems to be the same or similar. languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=286 – DRF Jul 2 '15 at 7:54
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    @DRF: So, "Caught everyone's eyes" is the right thing to say? – Nicky Jul 2 '15 at 7:57
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The idiom is "to catch someone's eye," meaning to draw someone's attention, and when it's just one person, there's no problem. I say, "She caught my eye." I would never say "She caught my eyes." But what happens when she catches the attention of everyone in the room? Did she catch everyone's eye? (One eye per person, as the idiom directs) or did she catch everyone's eyes? (one eye per person times many people is many eyes)

The google finds that the plural "eyes" far outnumbers the singular "eye," but the reverse is true for the books they've scanned.

In the example from an opinion written by Judge Richard Posner (link in DRF's comment), the judge writes of ostriches with their head in the sand, probably because "ostriches with their heads in the sand" conjures up the uncomfortable image of multi-headed ostriches. This problem doesn't arise with eyes, so the choice is up to you.

  • You sir, understood my question perfectly. But, what do you mean by 'choice is up to you'?. Both the ways of saying it are correct? After a lot of googling, I think, what Kris said in the very first comment is right. Since its an idiom, 'Caught everyone's eye' should be correct. – Nicky Jul 4 '15 at 5:45
  • Yes, both ways are "correct," in the sense that native speakers will understand what you mean and that there will be no strange resonance as in the case of ostriches and heads. The idiom isn't "Caught everyone's eye." The idiom is the use of the verb "to catch" with an object "eye" to mean gain attention. Various permutations are allowed, in this case, including "eye-catching." The Ngram viewer records both plural and singular uses. – deadrat Jul 4 '15 at 6:30

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