Did you take the/your children?

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zaffy

Senior Member
Polish
"Did you take the/your children?"

Say I'm asking someone if they went on holiday alone or with their kids. I know "your children" is the correct form, however can I use the definite article as well? Or would the meaning change?
 
  • Tim98S

    New Member
    German
    Since it‘s clear whose kids you‘re talking about you can use the definite article as well.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    People who knew that my children were from my first wife rather than my late second wife would sometimes say something like "Did you take the children?" to her, because "your children" would imply that she was their mother. She thought of them as hers in every way except biologically, but saying "the children" avoids a potential difficulty. There was never any confusion about which children were meant.
     
    Last edited:

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I don't know who 'the wife' is. It was your example. It's rude because it's a very dismissive way for a man to refer to his partner, as if she were part of the furniture. I suppose the same would be true of 'the husband', but I've never heard a woman say that.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I see, though find it weird. So why would 'the child'/the children' not be rude compared to 'the wife'
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    "The children / the kids" has become a common collocation because this is what parents say when they're talking to each other about their children.

    Are the kids in the car?
    Can you pick up the kids from school tomorrow?
    This is much more normal and conversational than saying "our kids". Hence, close friends of the family might use "the kids" as well when talking to the parents. It sounds friendly and conversational.

    On the other hand, the words wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, etc. are never used with a definite article by members of the family, and hence, nor by anybody else.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I see, though find it weird. So why would 'the child'/the children' not be rude compared to 'the wife'
    Because that's the way it is. It's considered disparaging. It has nothing to do with grammar.

    I personally also object to 'kids', although it has become common usage (if I say 'kids' I'm being disparaging, but this has been discussed at length elsewhere, so I won't go into it here).
     
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