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Thread: the+body parts

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    #1

    the+body parts

    Hello,

    when we describe (the ?) parts of our bodies, should we use 'the' or possessive pronouns like 'our'?

    for example?

    1. Our/the ( zero article) teeth are very important.
    2. She hit me in the face or she hit my face sounds better?
    3. After she ran for hours, the/ her leg hurt.

    Thanks.
    attempt to be able to speak natural english.


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
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    #2

    Re: the+body parts

    Quote Originally Posted by sebayanpendam View Post
    Hello,

    when we describe (the ?) parts of our bodies, should we use 'the' or possessive pronouns like 'our'?

    for example?

    1. Our/the ( zero article) teeth are very important.
    2. She hit me in the face or she hit my face sounds better?
    3. After she ran for hours, the/ her leg hurt.

    Thanks.
    attempt to be able to speak natural english.
    We would use "the" + body part in an abstract sense, such as you might read in a textbook about the body:
    - The femur is the longest bone in the body.

    We would us "her/my/his" when speaking about the body part of someone specific:
    - Mary broke her femur in a car crash.
    - When I fell down the stairs, I thought I was going to break every bone in my body.
    - Sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.

    So that means for the third sentence:
    3. After she ran for hours, her leg hurt.
    ----------------------------------------

    For the second sentence:
    2. "She hit me in the face" sounds better.
    ----------------------------------

    For the first one, it depends entirely on context:
    Our teeth are very important.
    - This is friendly instruction -- a teacher, a parent, an elementary textbook would teach a child this way

    The teeth are very important.
    - This is an objective remark about "teeth" in general. It might be found in a high school text book about the body:
    "The teeth are very important to digestion and for general health. They begin the process of absorbing food by grinding it into small pieces. Next, the food is swallowed and goes to the stomach where ...."

    This would hardly be distinguished from
    Teeth are very important.
    - This is an objective remark about teeth as a concept.
    - After the textbook said "Teeth are very important," it would likely use "the" when they are mentioned again.
    "Teeth are very important. The teeth begin the process of digestion...."

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