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Definite article for one's own body parts?

Rebecca L.B2Kwiziq community member

Definite article for one's own body parts?

Why is it "Mes pieds sont gelés" rather than "Les pieds sont gelés"?  I understood that you could use la, le, l' when referring to your own body parts.  How can you tell which to use?

Asked 2 years ago
Maarten K.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

In this case, the body part is the subject of the verb, not the object. "Mes pieds sont . . ."  - as noted in the lesson, this is one of the 'exceptions' to using definite articles with body parts as per the example pasted below (others being for emphasis or when needed to avoid ambiguity in circumstances such as another person/other people involved - these latter 2 reasons are at the speaker's consideration/discretion) :

"Also, when the body part is the subject of the verb (rather than the object), possessive adjectives are used:

J'ai mal à la tête.My head hurts.

BUT

Ma tête me fait mal.My head hurts."
CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Rebecca, 

Just to add to what Maarten said, you could also say -

J'ai les pieds gelés 

or

Mes pieds sont gelés 

for, my feet are frozen but it is probably more colloquial.

 

 

Definite article for one's own body parts?

Why is it "Mes pieds sont gelés" rather than "Les pieds sont gelés"?  I understood that you could use la, le, l' when referring to your own body parts.  How can you tell which to use?

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