Catch a tiger by the/its toe.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by brian&me, May 11, 2017.

  1. brian&me

    brian&me Senior Member

    Chinese - China
    Hi, everyone.

    I read a rhyme as follows:

    Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,

    Catch a tiger by the toe.

    I wonder if we could also say catch a tiger by its toe.

    Thanks a lot in advance.
     
  2. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    Chicago
    English (American)
    If your question is whether that would be grammatically correct, the answer is yes.
     
  3. brian&me

    brian&me Senior Member

    Chinese - China
    Thanks, Glenfarclas.
    Do you mean that's not idiomatically correct?
     
  4. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    Chicago
    English (American)
    No, I didn't say that. I just wasn't sure why you were thinking of altering the word.
     
  5. I agree you could use "its".

    I think, though, that "the toe" is sort of a set phrase in this favorite childhood chant. (I've heard "his toe" as a variation.)

    Also, in medical terminology and definitions "the" is used for body parts:

    "The heart is the organ that pumps blood through the body."
     
  6. brian&me

    brian&me Senior Member

    Chinese - China
    Thanks, friends.

    Tom hit the boy on the head.

    Jack took her by the hand.

    I wonder if I could say these two sentences as follows:

    Tom hit the boy on his head.

    Jack took her by her hand.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Those are possible, B&M, but "the head" and "the hand" sound more idiomatic to me.

    Some speakers, perhaps influenced by dialect, use the possessive far more often than I do: He hit me in my face/on my head. The possessive seems needless and a little annoying to me, but apparently some other speakers find it normal.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017

Share This Page

Loading...