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Which is more common in spoken Japanese? 眼鏡【めがね】を掛ける【かける】or 眼鏡をする? I've heard both verbs used, which is why I'm curious. Would the answer be different if it's サングラス instead?

3
  • 眼鏡{めがね}を掛{か}ける or 眼鏡 {めがね}をする
  • If I recall correctly, they've said サングラスをします, but not 眼鏡{めがね}をします.

I think it's a very interesting observation.

I myself wear glasses, and I certainly say "眼鏡{めがね}を掛{か}ける", but I don't say "眼鏡{めがね}をする".
I don't wear sunglasses, more over I don't even have ones. If I say, I would say "サングラスをする".
I thought about this difference, and I have set up two hypotheses. There is no guarantee that they are correct.

(1) When I put on my eyeglasses, the expression "掛ける" doesn't have a nuance to make them function to correct the vision by placing them in front of my eyes, but has a nuance to hang "テンプル/ウデ/ツル hanging temples" on the ears, or a nuance to hang "パッド/鼻当{はなあ}て nose pads" on the the nose.

(2) I often ski, so when I go downhill by skiing I always wear "ゴーグル goggles".
As you know, goggles protect eyes from ultraviolet rays like sunglasses. When thinking about goggles, I notice that I say "ゴーグルを付{つ}ける" or "ゴーグルをする" instead of "ゴーグルを掛{か}ける". Considering the difference in verbs to use, "ゴーグルを付ける" means the operation to put on them, and "ゴーグルをする" seems to pay attention to the function to protect eyes from ultraviolet rays. In the case of sunglasses, the reason that I don't use "サングラスを掛ける" but use "サングラスをする" is probably that I would focuse on proteting the eyes rather than the putting on action.

Despite the above explanation, in fact, both verbs with "掛ける" or "する" is safely used for glasses or sunglasses.

The frequency of use on the Internet is as follows.

  • 眼鏡をかける   327,000
  • 眼鏡をする   1,006,000
  • めがねをかける   48,700
  • めがねをする   159,000
  • メガネをかける 1,210,000
  • メガネをする  1,880,000

  • サングラスをかける 193,000

  • サングラスをする  604,000
  • Interesting figures. Did you get those by Googling the respective phrases? That's clever. It didn't occur to me to try that. – Jon Feb 10 '18 at 3:05
  • @Jon: >Did you get those by Googling the respective phrases? Yes. I searched for the frequency on the Internet with keyword "眼鏡をかける" now, then I got 376,000 hits. – mackygoo Feb 10 '18 at 4:53
  • @Jon You cannot rely on Google hit counts, really. It's not uncommon to see a number suddenly increasing or decreasing by 10 times. You need to use a corpus for this purpose. (So we're already seeing a sudden 20% increase for 眼鏡をかける, which is very weird.) – naruto Feb 12 '18 at 3:34
  • @mackygoo ちゃんとしたコーパスだと「サングラスをかける」が「サングラスをする」より軽く5倍以上の頻度で使われていますので、多分そのGoogle検索結果は信用しない方がいいです。ちなみにうちの環境で「眼鏡をする」だと最初「343万件」と出てその時点でmackygooさんの時と数倍違う数字ですが、4ページ目まで見ると検索結果が「39件」に変わり、それ以上表示されなくなりました(いつものことです)。 – naruto Feb 12 '18 at 7:41
  • @naruto: そんなにいい加減だと信用できないですね。ありがとうございます。私は、自分の経験から判断して、眼が弱くて常時メガネを掛けている人は確実に「掛ける」と言うだろうなという自信はありますが、メガネを掛けていない人は視力矯正用メガネもサングラスも他人が掛けているのを見る機会の方が自分で掛けるより多く、その場合は、「する」ではなく、「している」と言うのかなと位に思っておりました。 – mackygoo Feb 12 '18 at 15:28
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According to BCCWJ, which is a corpus based on written Japanese, 眼鏡をかける is way (> 10 times) more common than 眼鏡をする. In spoken Japanese, basic words like する tend to be used more often than in written Japanese, so the difference may be relatively smaller.

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眼鏡をする is not correct usage. I'd highly doubt you heard that from a native speaker. The correct verb for both is 掛ける.

する however, can be used for things worn on the head, like hats. Maybe that's what you heard?

  • 2
    To clarify, I'm working through Rosetta Stone right now. That's where I'm encountering the mixed usage. For hats, they teach 被る【かぶる】. If I recall correctly, they've said スングラスをします, but not 眼鏡をします. That's why I was wondering if it made a difference. – Jon Feb 9 '18 at 5:33

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