I was taught in school that it is incorrect to use possessive pronouns to refer to body parts, and instead to use articles (for example, "me duele el estómago"). However, I frequently hear possessive pronouns used (especially in songs). For example, "que me da su mano franca" or "llevo a un lado de mi piel." Is it correct to use both?

  • 1
    One thing is an action performed on a body, like lavarme los dientes. Another is to mention a part of a body in another context. Llevo a un lado de mi piel, can be said no other way. Also, be careful, in English, parts of the body are not body parts. :)
    – Lambie
    Dec 18, 2021 at 19:34
  • I'm from Argentina, we say "me duele el estómago", but in Mexico (where I live) it's very common to say "me duele mi estomago". I don't think there is any rule against this, both expressions make sense. Jan 16 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


En español, el artículo adquiere valor posesivo cuando determina a sustantivos que denotan partes o posesiones inherentes o inalienables, como son las partes del cuerpo; así, se dice «Me duele la cabeza» (y no *«mi cabeza»).

In Spanish, the article acquires possessive value when it determines nouns that denote inherent or inalienable parts or possessions, such as parts of the body; thus, it is said "Me duele la cabeza" (and not * "mi cabeza").

Answer of the RAE (Real Academia Española) extracted from the same query made in Twitter

In any case, the lyrics of the songs are usually made with terms and syntactic constructions of popular use that do not have to be officially accepted.

  • Pero se dice también: Mi cabeza me duele. [o sea, no la pierna]
    – Lambie
    Dec 20, 2021 at 20:47
  • Si, hay muchas frases más o menos populares hechas: "lo ví con mis propios ojos", "lo sostuve con mis brazos", "ella lo siente en lo profundo de su corazón"... La RAE recomienda no utilizar ninguna de ellas.
    – Danielillo
    Dec 20, 2021 at 21:24

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