155 - Darling, it's in your eyes...

Hey there fellow netizens!

So as promised, today we will take a look at that troublesome expression I introduced you to in the previous lesson. It's actually not that difficult in itself, so let's take a quick look at it once more... huh... what was it again... I completely forgot...

...Oh, look at this cute little thing, making cute puppy eyes...

Wait, that's it! Making eyes!

~め を する
Having a certain look in one's eyes
Literally: 'Eyes + を + make'

こいぬ は かわいい め を している。
The puppy has cute eyes.
Literally: 'Puppy + は + cute + eyes + を + making.'

If you are scratching your head thinking 'why can't they just say the puppy hascute eyes' or 'the puppy's eyes are cute', then we are thinking the same thing.

When you say that 'the puppy makes cute eyes', you stress the intent of the cute-eye-maker. When a puppy looks at you with those eyes, you know he wants you to love and pet him, so there is (more or less) an intention expressed here.

There is no apparent intent from the puppy if you were to just say 'he has cute eyes'.

The thing is, this 'making' of stuff is used not only with eyes; one can 'make' other things as well (like a face for example). For the sake of practice though, we'll stick to the eyes for today.

Now let's take a look at how we can use that expression:

Adjective + 目をする

1) Used to describe the emotion and/or intent expressed through the eyes.

For example, you may have heard before of:

あんた、 いい め を してる。
You, (I like that) look in your eyes.
Literally: You, + good + eyes + を + making.
Note: あんた, which is a shortened form of あなた, is (rude) male language.

This is something you usually hear in anime, before a fight between two opponents begins.
In real life, you could hear it when a superior (boss) praises his/her subordinate (maybe leaving out the 'あんた' part.) It is used with the meaning of "I like the determination/resolve in your eyes".

2) Of course, you can also use it to describe the eyes themselves:

きれいな め を している。
(You) have beautiful eyes.
Literally: Beautiful + eyes + を + making.

Noun + の + 目をする

1) Used to describe the emotions and/or intent perceived in the other persons eyes by comparing it with something (the noun).

かれ は けもの の め を している。
He has the eyes of a beast.
Literally: 'He + は + beast + の + eyes + を + making.'

Well, we all get grumpy when hungry...

2) Used to describe the eyes themselves:

かのじょ は みどりいろ の め を している。
She has green eyes.
Literally: 'She + は + green color + の + eyes + を + making.'

The next one looks a little scary, but if we break it down it's not that difficult. It's the one I showed you in the previous lesson:

Verb (ている form) + ような + 目をする
'Making eyes as if you were + verb (ex. sad/angry/having fun/etc.)

にわとり は おこっている ような 目 を している。
The chicken is making angry-looking eyes/The chicken looks as if it were angry.
Literally: 'Chicken + は + is angry + as if + eyes + を + making.'

Note: よう(な) is used when you don't know for sure (but are inclined to believe that) the subject is actually sad/angry/having fun etc. It also becomes clear in the translation that the subject looks 'as if' they were 'X', but you can't really say for sure.

For the record, my chickens usually look angry. I don't know if they are actually mad at us for always taking their eggs, or if this is just another unfortunate example of the infamous 'resting bi*ch face syndrome'.

Note #2: This '様な/ような/as if' word (and even just the kanji by itself) may seem a little confusing, but you will often come across it in the Japanese language. I think I'll make the next lesson about it, so we can get that checked as well.

Let's take a look at another example:

あかちゃん は ことば が わかる ような め を している。
Babies look as if they understand language.
Literally: 'baby + は + words/language + が + understands + as if + eyes + を + making.'

In this case we are inclined to believe that babies don't understand what we're saying, but it looks at you as if they do.

So, I hope this lesson allowed you get a better idea of the 'making eyes' expression. It helps that we also use it in English sometimes.

Have a nice day and see you guys next time!

This lesson was written by Adriana, a guest contributor.

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