she held the little boy by the right hand.

< Previous | Next >

redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
she held the little boy by the right hand.

The right hand belongs to who? a book says it's mother's. Is it right? "By" used in this way is very new for me.
 
  • shashiana

    New Member
    English - US
    the mother held the little boy's right hand..

    it might help by replacing the word "the" with "his"
    like "she held the little boy by 'his' right hand
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    she held the little boy by the right hand.

    The right hand belongs to who? a book says it's mother's. Is it right? "By" used in this way is very new for me.
    This would mean "the little boy's right hand" to me.
     

    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Yes, you could replace "the" with "his," but the fact of the matter is that the former is probably more common in English.

    I have always taken it to mean the hand of the direct object--in this case, the little boy.

    Consider the following example:

    "He grabbed the dog by the nape of the neck."

    In this sentence, there clearly is no doubt that "the nape of the neck" belongs to the dog.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top