Normally the definite article (le/la/les) is used with body parts (j'ai mal à la tête) but there are exceptions.
See Using le, la, les with body parts and clothing (definite articles)
The possessive adjectives with body parts in French
In the following special cases:
- when special emphasis on the body part is desired, or
- when another person is involved
the possessive adjective (sa, son, ta, ton etc.) is used instead of the definite article (le/la/les) to reduce ambiguity.
Montre-moi tes mains !Show me your hands!
J'ai pris sa main.I took her hand
Regarde son nez !Look at his nose!
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.
Ma tête me fait mal.My head hurts.
Want to make sure your French sounds confident?
We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your
gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »