Is the sympathetic dative essential to express some meaning in some context or is it just an alternative form, idiomatic in Spanish, of expressing possession/association without possessive pronouns? I believe it is the latter because other languages such as English and Portuguese, never use it and are able to express all possessive /associations relationships that I know, but I'm possibly missing some nuance, so I'd like to confirm with native Spanish speakers. A simple example for discussion:
- Me lavo las manos
- Lavo mis manos.
My question has nothing to do with No possessive pronoun for body parts . First, my question is about the sympathetic dative in general, not specifically its usage with body parts. Second, I understand very well how to use that form of dative to express possession. My question is if the sympathetic dative expresses something that a possessive pronoun could not achieve or if the preference for the dative over the possessive pronoun is purely idiomatic.