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La mano o sus manos

 

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Old May 14, 2011, 10:33 PM
heze74 heze74 is offline
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La mano o sus manos

I am having an argument with my Venezuelan wife that I hope you can resolve. I was taught in high school Spanish class that when referring to hands, they are considered a unit. For instance, in the sentence 'Todos los niños deben lavarse ... después de comer,' 'la mano' is used rather than 'sus manos.' She insists that I am ridiculous to say 'Todos los niños deben lavarse la mano después de comer.' I understand what may be said on the street, but in official Spanish, who is correct? Would it vary from country to country?

Thanks for your help,
Eric

Last edited by heze74; May 14, 2011 at 10:42 PM.
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  #2  
Old May 14, 2011, 10:48 PM
Luna Azul Luna Azul is offline
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Originally Posted by heze74 View Post
I am having an argument with my Venezuelan wife that I hope you can resolve. I was taught in high school Spanish class that when referring to hands, they are considered a unit. For instance, in the sentence 'Todos los niños deben lavarse ... después de comer,' 'la mano' is used rather than 'sus manos.' She insists that I am ridiculous to say 'Todos los niños deben lavarse la mano después de comer.' I understand what may be said on the street, but in official Spanish, who is correct? Would it vary from country to country?

Thanks for your help,
Eric
Neither "la mano" nor "sus manos" is correct. We use "las manos"

Your Spanish teacher taught you a mistake. "Hands" are never considered a singular unit.

As for your wife saying "sus manos" she's probably translating from English.

The correct sentence is "todos los niños deben lavarse las manos después de comer".

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Old May 15, 2011, 01:19 AM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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Just to add to what Luna Azul said, it is possible to say 'sus manos' instead of 'las manos'. When the verb is reflexive, however, it is obvious whose hands should be washed, so 'las manos' would be the better choice.

Welcome to the forums, by the way.
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Old May 15, 2011, 12:53 PM
Luna Azul Luna Azul is offline
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Just to add to what Luna Azul said, it is possible to say 'sus manos' instead of 'las manos'. When the verb is reflexive, however, it is obvious whose hands should be washed, so 'las manos' would be the better choice.

Welcome to the forums, by the way.
Of course "las manos" is correct in other contexts. I was referring to this particular sentence.. . But yes, you're right..
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Old May 15, 2011, 11:34 PM
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la mano, la(s) mano(s). If you say "todos los niños deben lavarse la mano" you are saying "all the kids must wash THE hand"
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Old May 16, 2011, 06:25 AM
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Sometimes in spoke Latin American SPanish the s of las and of manos is left out or substituted with an h.
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Old May 16, 2011, 12:45 PM
Luna Azul Luna Azul is offline
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Sometimes in spoke Latin American SPanish the s of las and of manos is left out or substituted with an h.
That's a matter of accent and it's always understood it's "las manos"
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