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Hard: Keep your eye on the ball

Hard: Keep your eye on the ball

Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.

This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms. These phrases can be used to talk about football but are also useful when talking about other topics.

Summary

Learn more football vocabulary with Premier Skills English. Each lesson in our Premier Vocabulary section looks at one football word or phrase. This lesson looks at the phrase to keep your eye on the ball

You can find more lessons on the side of this page.

Transcript

Rich: Hello my name's Rich and welcome to Premier Skills English - Premier Vocabulary.

Jack: Hi there! I'm Jack. We're here to help you with your football English. Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time.

Rich: We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.

Jack: This episode is hard so we're looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms. These phrases can be used to talk about football but will also be useful to use when talking about other topics too.


Rich: The phrase we are looking at in this episode is: to keep your eye on the ball.

Jack: Footballers are always told to keep their eyes on the ball; especially when they are defending. It means to always watch the ball.

Rich: A goalkeeper or defender needs to keep their eye on the ball when crosses come into the box.

Jack: They need to keep their eye on the ball so they can catch it easily or head the ball away from danger.

Rich: Defenders are told to keep their eyes on the ball when attackers run at them with the ball at their feet.

Jack: Cristiano Ronaldo confuses defenders with all those stepovers, but if they just kept their eyes on the ball they would be fine.

Rich: Easy for you to say!


Jack: To keep your eye on the ball is also an idiom that is used away from football.

Rich: It means to give your complete attention to something and not to be distracted by things that are less important.

Jack: It's used to speak about business quite a lot. A business person needs to keep his or her eye on the ball so competitors and other businesses don't take away their customers.


Rich: You need to keep your eye on the ball. It's easy to repeat when I say it slowly but listen at normal speed. You need to keep your eye on the ball.

Jack: What happened there? When you said it slowly I heard the words 'eye' and 'on' but then at normal speed I heard the word 'iron'.

Rich: Pronunciation and connected speech can make phrases difficult to understand. Small grammar words like prepositions often become weaker.

Jack: In this phrase the preposition 'on' is a weak form so we just use the schwa /er/ and on becomes /ern/.

Rich: Listen to the phrase again and have a go at repeating it at the same speed.

Jack: You need to keep your eye on the ball.


Rich: There is the final whistle!

Jack: We'll be back soon with more Premier Vocabulary from Premier Skills English.

Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football.

Discuss

  • In what situations do you need to keep your eye on the ball?
  • Have you ever taken your eye off the ball and caused a problem?

Write your answers in the comments section below.

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Comentários

KareemZain
07/08/2023
EG
383
points

I needed to keep my eye on the ball during my study but now I have to keep my eye on the ball during my work. I can be easily distracted sometimes so yes I have taken my eye off the ball and it caused a problem.


KareemZain
07/08/2023 14:21
Egypt
Manchester City
383

I needed to keep my eye on the ball during my study but now I have to keep my eye on the ball during my work. I can be easily distracted sometimes so yes I have taken my eye off the ball and it caused a problem.

Roberto Avelar's picture
Roberto Avelar
23/09/2021
BR
110
points

Players must keep an eye on the ball at all times.

As a coach I keep my eye on many things besides the ball.


Roberto Avelar's picture
Roberto Avelar
23/09/2021 01:06
Brazil
Manchester City
110

Players must keep an eye on the ball at all times.

As a coach I keep my eye on many things besides the ball.

Gabriel Amaral's picture
Gabriel Amaral
26/04/2021
BR
1512
points

During a match and as a coach, I must keep my eye on a lot of things. But I also must tell my players to keep their eyes on the ball almost everytime, doing that wherever they are in a defending or attacking moment of the game.
Fortunately, I've just kept my eyes of the ball when I wasn't at the pitch...so it didn't caused any problems.


Gabriel Amaral's picture
Gabriel Amaral
26/04/2021 15:48
Brazil
Arsenal
1512

During a match and as a coach, I must keep my eye on a lot of things. But I also must tell my players to keep their eyes on the ball almost everytime, doing that wherever they are in a defending or attacking moment of the game.
Fortunately, I've just kept my eyes of the ball when I wasn't at the pitch...so it didn't caused any problems.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
29/11/2020
UA
6297
points

- Have you ever taken your eye off the ball and caused a problem?

- I have at times, in a sleepy or tired state. Today I've taken my eye off the ball when cooking - frying chicken - and nearly escaped burning it.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
29/11/2020 19:25
Ukraine
Liverpool
6297

- Have you ever taken your eye off the ball and caused a problem?

- I have at times, in a sleepy or tired state. Today I've taken my eye off the ball when cooking - frying chicken - and nearly escaped burning it.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
29/11/2020
UA
6297
points

One always needs to keep the eye on the ball when one is on the road with heavy traffic.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
29/11/2020 19:21
Ukraine
Liverpool
6297

One always needs to keep the eye on the ball when one is on the road with heavy traffic.

mat_cfc_pl
23/11/2020
PL
351
points

* Keep my eye on the ball when I try learn play to the guitar.
** Yes, It always happen in kitchen ;)


mat_cfc_pl
23/11/2020 09:56
Poland
Chelsea
351

* Keep my eye on the ball when I try learn play to the guitar.
** Yes, It always happen in kitchen ;)

hsn's picture
hsn
06/06/2020
TR
5537
points

* You have to "keep your eye on the ball" when you're driving or looking after a child.Also when you're arranging pressure of any device.

* Unfortunately yes. Boiling eggs became coal.


hsn's picture
hsn
06/06/2020 15:39
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
5537

* You have to "keep your eye on the ball" when you're driving or looking after a child.Also when you're arranging pressure of any device.

* Unfortunately yes. Boiling eggs became coal.

Kino's picture
Kino
10/04/2020
JP
194
points

Hello there! Thank you always for your useful podcasts.
I have a question. When do you use the plural 'eyes' instead of 'eye'?
Is there any rules of it?


Kino's picture
Kino
10/04/2020 02:19
Japan
Chelsea
194

Hello there! Thank you always for your useful podcasts.
I have a question. When do you use the plural 'eyes' instead of 'eye'?
Is there any rules of it?

admin's picture
admin
10/04/2020
GB
560
points

Hi Kino

Thanks for asking. I'm not sure that there are any special rules for plural and singular uses of the word eye. I can't see any pattern. If you look at the following examples, there seems to be no reason why the singular or plural forms are used - or at least no reason based on the meaning of the phrase. 

  • I've got my eye on you
  • keep your eyes on the prize
  • keep your eyes peeled
  • keep an eye out for something
  • to catch someone's eye
  • to cry your eyes out
  • to feast your eyes on something
  • a sight for sore eyes
  • to have eyes in the back of your head

However, I've not really thought about it and I could be wrong. If anyone else knows why, I'd be delighted to hear it.

Thanks

Jack

 


admin's picture
admin
10/04/2020 14:15
United Kingdom
Arsenal
560

Hi Kino

Thanks for asking. I'm not sure that there are any special rules for plural and singular uses of the word eye. I can't see any pattern. If you look at the following examples, there seems to be no reason why the singular or plural forms are used - or at least no reason based on the meaning of the phrase. 

  • I've got my eye on you
  • keep your eyes on the prize
  • keep your eyes peeled
  • keep an eye out for something
  • to catch someone's eye
  • to cry your eyes out
  • to feast your eyes on something
  • a sight for sore eyes
  • to have eyes in the back of your head

However, I've not really thought about it and I could be wrong. If anyone else knows why, I'd be delighted to hear it.

Thanks

Jack

 

Kino's picture
Kino
11/04/2020
JP
194
points

Thank you for your reply, Jack!
Oh, okay! As we can see the transcript, you used both "eye" and "eyes" so I wondered what the differences are.
But they were like involuntary choices and either way sounds fine for you, right?


Kino's picture
Kino
11/04/2020 05:42
Japan
Chelsea
194

Thank you for your reply, Jack!
Oh, okay! As we can see the transcript, you used both "eye" and "eyes" so I wondered what the differences are.
But they were like involuntary choices and either way sounds fine for you, right?

Rich's picture
Rich
11/04/2020
ES
594
points

Hi Kino,

This is really interesting.

As Jack said, there doesn't seem to be any definitive pattern to when we use the plural or singular form with these phrases. A couple of things to think about (and these ideas are certainly not definitive) are that we sometimes might use 'eyes' in the plural form when we are using the third person possessive plural (their). The other thing to think about is whether the phrase is actually an idiom at all - if a footballer is saying 'keep your eyes on the ball' it is much more literal than a business person saying 'we need to keep our eye on the ball'.

What do you think? Does this make sense? 

Rich - The Premier Skills English Team


Rich's picture
Rich
11/04/2020 21:34
Spain
Liverpool
594

Hi Kino,

This is really interesting.

As Jack said, there doesn't seem to be any definitive pattern to when we use the plural or singular form with these phrases. A couple of things to think about (and these ideas are certainly not definitive) are that we sometimes might use 'eyes' in the plural form when we are using the third person possessive plural (their). The other thing to think about is whether the phrase is actually an idiom at all - if a footballer is saying 'keep your eyes on the ball' it is much more literal than a business person saying 'we need to keep our eye on the ball'.

What do you think? Does this make sense? 

Rich - The Premier Skills English Team

Kino's picture
Kino
12/04/2020
JP
194
points

Hi Rich,
Thank you for your replay.
It really made me think but that makes sense to me.
I guess you might use 'eyes' when you are aware of sights from more than a eye - by multiple people.
Also when it is in an idiom and it means 'sight', it doesn't really seem to matter whether we use 'eye' or 'eyes.' But only when we indicate physical eyes, we might have to use the words properly. - "Close your eyes." means close your both eyes not only one.
Anyway, I had a good time to think about it. Thank you!
Kino


Kino's picture
Kino
12/04/2020 08:28
Japan
Chelsea
194

Hi Rich,
Thank you for your replay.
It really made me think but that makes sense to me.
I guess you might use 'eyes' when you are aware of sights from more than a eye - by multiple people.
Also when it is in an idiom and it means 'sight', it doesn't really seem to matter whether we use 'eye' or 'eyes.' But only when we indicate physical eyes, we might have to use the words properly. - "Close your eyes." means close your both eyes not only one.
Anyway, I had a good time to think about it. Thank you!
Kino

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