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My JLPT practise book has these two sentences to help explain the difference between お目{め}にか and お目{め}にか in a context of keigo.

それでは新製品{しんせいひん}お目{め}にかけましょう。

鈴木{すずき}さんという人{ひと}に初{はじ}めてお目{め}にかかりました。

Unfortunately, the brief explanation they give about these sentences is not quite enough for me to be sure I've got it.

I think the first case, お目{め}にかける is when you're asking someone else to look at something. "Please look at X."

And I think the second case of お目{め}にかかるis when you're doing the looking. "I saw X."

I often get these kinds of differences mixed up. Can someone either confirm I'm right, tell me if and where I'm wrong, or enlighten me if there is some other nuance I should be aware of?

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  • While it's not really relevant to the way the terms are actually used, I'd like to say that お目 in お目にかかる is not your eyes, but the other person's eyes (so it's not really you doing the seeing). You are appearing before their eyes, so to speak. The (grammatical) difference between かける and かかる is whether you are placing something before their eyes, or appearing before their eyes yourself. But you should really just memorize the expressions to mean two different things.
    – dainichi
    May 13 at 4:45

1 Answer 1

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The first is used when you're having someone take a look at something. In this case I think it's safe to assume it means, "let's show [them] the new products."

Source (Weblio)--> 目にかける (2)(「お目にかける」の形で)見せる。見ていただく。

The second is the Keigolicious way to say 会う. More specifically, 会うing with a person well above your status. In the Japanese version of "7 Years in Tibet," people use this when they meet the Dalai Lama.

Source (Brad Pitt)--> "お目にかかれて光栄です、猊下。" >> It's an honor to meet you, oh holy lord of holiness.

It seems like every JLPT practice book has like 800 sentences about 新製品. It's really irritating. Just be careful... your furigana says "しんさくひん," but your Kanji reads "シンセイヒン."

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  • Thanks for catching the typo, I've corrected it in the question (which, by the way, is why I always put in furigana, so I get caught on mistakes on reading). Also, +1 for "oh holy lord of holiness". Is that the real English terms used, or is it your tongue-in-cheek way of describing the excess praise?
    – Questioner
    Nov 28, 2011 at 5:37
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    Lol, yeah, I think it's fun to translate keigo into way over the top English. Good luck on the test, sir :)
    – Scooter GG
    Nov 28, 2011 at 6:18

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