Why is "slip of tongue' incorrect without a 'the" before the word tongue?

asked Jul 26 '11 at 12:48 Mahmood Ali Khan New member

2 answers


Generally, Kim is correct. To elaborate a bit, "the" is (of course) a determiner or article. In this case it indicates a specific tongue as opposed to tongues generally. Most of the time, singular words require determiners. This one could be "my," "his" or some other as well.


Still, we do also sometimes use singular nouns generically--sleight of hand, for instance--so I can see where the confusion arises. And that leads back to Kimberly's point: "slip of the tongue" is an established stock phrase, and that's just the way we say it.

link comment answered Aug 03 '11 at 19:54 Virginia DeMers New member

Certain phrases are fixed in English.  "Slip of the tongue" is one of them.

link comment answered Jul 27 '11 at 22:57 Kimberly Expert

Your answer

Write at least 20 characters

Have a question about English grammar, style or vocabulary use? Ask now to get help from Grammarly experts for FREE.