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  1. #1
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default hit the nail on the head

    Hello.

    Definition of hit, Macmillan Online Dictionary: Free American English Dictionary and Thesaurus
    hit the nail on the head
    to say something that is exactly right or completely true
    With regard to the gentleman’s comments, I think he has hit the nail right on the head.

    Be sure to hit the nail on the head or you'll mar the wall.

    Mr. Smith is good at discussing generalities, but when it comes to specifics he never quite hits the nail on the head.

    The President's remarks hit the nail right on the head.

    Jack hit the nail right on the head when he said that our biggest weakness is in product development.

    We hit the nail on the head with our new product.

    Do these sentences sound good? It's incorrect to say "its" instead of "the," isn't it?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: hit the nail on the head

    The first one is not an idiom - it's a literal use of the words. That's the one that you COULD use "its" instead "the."

    The others use the idiom, and you don't change the words of an idiom. Just use it as-is.

    The last one doesn't work quite right. What issue did you address correctly with your product? It could work, if you had a sentence before about trying to target a specific demographic, but as a stand-alone sentence, that one doesn't work so well.

  3. #3
    albeit is offline Banned
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    Default Re: hit the nail on the head

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    Hello.

    Definition of hit, Macmillan Online Dictionary: Free American English Dictionary and Thesaurus hit the nail on the head
    to say something that is exactly right or completely true
    With regard to the gentleman’s comments, I think he has hit the nail right on the head.

    Be sure to hit the nail on the head or you'll mar the wall.

    Mr. Smith is good at discussing generalities, but when it comes to specifics he never quite hits the nail on the head.

    The President's remarks hit the nail right on the head.

    Jack hit the nail right on the head when he said that our biggest weakness is in product development.

    We hit the nail on the head with our new product.

    Do these sentences sound good? It's incorrect to say "its" instead of "the," isn't it?

    Thank you.

    We rarely change idioms, Daruma, unless there's a very good reason. With regard to the one that isn't an idiom, about marring the wall, you could use 'its' there.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: hit the nail on the head

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    Hello.

    Definition of hit, Macmillan Online Dictionary: Free American English Dictionary and Thesaurus
    hit the nail on the head
    to say something that is exactly right or completely true
    With regard to the gentleman’s comments, I think he has hit the nail right on the head.

    Be sure to hit the nail on the head or you'll mar the wall.

    Mr. Smith is good at discussing generalities, but when it comes to specifics he never quite hits the nail on the head.

    The President's remarks hit the nail right on the head.

    Jack hit the nail right on the head when he said that our biggest weakness is in product development.

    We hit the nail on the head with our new product.

    Do these sentences sound good? It's incorrect to say "its" instead of "the," isn't it?

    Thank you.
    They sound good, yes, and they are correct. However, I would say that this expression is out of place in the last example sentence. I don't think it works there. A product can be effective, good, popular, and well received. This doesn't have anything to do with the preciseness in hitting a target that "hit the nail on the head" communicates.

    It's not grammatically incorrect to say "its", as in "hit the nail on its head". However, the expression just isn't the same unless you say "hit the nail on the head". I would say this is so because "the head" in this case is likened to a "target". So just as we would say "hit the target", we should say "hit the nail on the head".

    As for the one about marring the wall, this is taken literally, so it wouldn't exactly be using the idiom "hit the nail on the head". Idioms often communicate something that is figurative or metaphorical in some way. In this way, we bring what is part of the abstract world into the concrete world. This is what the appeal of idiomatic expressions often is.
    Last edited by PROESL; 21-Sep-2009 at 03:17.

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