He stubbed his toe on a leg of the dining table. It didn't hurt a lot but it bled a little.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by aleaf, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. aleaf Senior Member

    Japan
    Japanese
    He stubbed his toe on a leg of the dining table. It didn't hurt a lot but it bled a little.

    I made it up. Could the first and second it both refer to his toe? While the second one should only be his toe, I was wondering if native speakers would be more inclined to take the first it as the fact he hit his toe on the table leg.
     
  2. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Cheshire
    English / England
    I guess so, it could be ref to his toe or a dummy for the whole experience. To be honest it is the sort of thing that native speakers wouldn't even think about!
     
  3. RedwoodGrove

    RedwoodGrove Senior Member

    Northern California
    English, USA
    Agreed. The first "it" is more about the general experience. But I also agree with suzi br that most native speakers would be hard pressed to define it. I guess the doubt implies the answer. (Because you don't know, therefore it is the general meaning.)

    He stubbed his toe on the leg of the dining table. It didn't hurt a lot but it bled a little.

    Sounds more natural to me, even though it is just one leg out of four.

     
  4. aleaf Senior Member

    Japan
    Japanese
    Thank you very much, suzi and RedwoodGrove!
     

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