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Set sights on

Last week on August 11 and 13, I spotted three headlines in The Nation newspaper with the phrase "to set one's sight on something"; it makes me wonder if it was a mere coincidence or the sub-editor himself was also "setting his sights on something" too; - I'm joking.

Here are the three headlines; "Indians sets sights on UK homes", "New DTAC CEO sets sights on No 1 spot" and "Thai Tobacco sets sights on Eastern Europe".

When one sets their sights on something, they decide that they want it very much and try hard to get it.

Abigail and her husband have set their sights on an upcountry cottage that's not too far from the sea.

After reading the above explanation and examples, what do you think the three headlines tell us? The first one "Indians sets sights on UK homes" is straightforward; the Indians want to buy homes in the UK very much. The second headline, "New DTAC CEO sets sights on No 1 spot" means that the new DTAC CEO wants very much to make DTAC become No1 (in the telecom market). And lastly, "Thai Tobacco sets sights on Eastern Europe" tells us that Thailand Tobacco Monopoly want to expand its business into Eastern Europe.

 "Sight" actually is the ability to see but the expression "to lose sight of something" does not mean that someone's has lost the ability to see but is in a situation where they are no longer paying attention to what is important and are worrying about things that do not matter. For someone who has lost the ability to see, we say they have lost their vision.  

It is worrying that Hanna spends so much time on entertaining her customers that she has lost sight of what she is here for.

 And when you catch sight of someone you see them either suddenly or for a short moment.

At the pub last night heart-broken Matthew seemed to be all right until he caught sight of his ex-girlfriend.

 Most of us know the saying , "Out of sight, out of mind"; don't get confused with the informal expression, "out of sight" which means extremely expensive and more than you can afford. But as slang, "out of sight" means excellent.

 I would really love to have that emerald bangle but the price is out of sight.


I'd like to finish today's article with this informal expression, "a sight for sore eyes"; don't mistake it for someone saying you are a sight for sore eyes. The speaker does not develop sore eyes when seeing you but it is a way of telling you how pleased they are to see you or that they think you are very attractive.

That friend of yours is a sight for sore eyes; who is she?

Complete the sentences using the expressions explained

1. This project involves many small tasks, so to ensure that we do not ......our core responsibility, we'd better make clearcut action plans right from the beginning.

2. We changed the plan because the expense for an overseas trip was ...... .

3. When you meet my cousin Jill you will change your mind; she is ...... .

4. "Any idea if Jonathan will come today?" -"He is already here. I ...... not very long ago."

5. You have just graduated with no working experience; maybe you should ...... a job that is not too ambitious.

Answers: 1. lose sight of, 2. out of sight, 3. a sight for sore eyes, 4. caught sight of him, 5. set your sights on

By Parnsap Yomanage

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