Which word do you think is appropriate for the following context?
"Jim is very rude. He always puts/takes his finger in/into/inside his nose."
Or, should I say, "He always places his finger inside his nose."?
Edit: I also know the word "nostril". Maybe I should use this word instead of "nose".

  • 1
    Note that extracting mucus from one's nose is called nose-picking. ("He always picks his nose.")
    – user3395
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 11:00
  • @userr2684291 Thank you. Can I also say to take out snot from the nose instead of to pick the nose? But I would think it's more impolite. Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 12:56
  • You can definitely describe everything in multiple ways, but there's a difference between what you can say and what's idiomatic (= natural). Picking one's nose is an expression denoting the whole act of a person inserting their finger into the nose and then pulling boogers out of it. Taking snot out of one's nose emphasizes the pulling out of boogers. I think a more common verb to use there would be get (get nucus/boogers out of someone's nose), indicating possible difficulty in doing so. I put someone in bold since you don't idiomatically pick someone's nose (just your own).
    – user3395
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 13:41
  • You're right in saying that snot is an impolite way of saying nasal mucus. (Booger just sounds informal, and usually denotes a piece of dried nasal mucus.) I put nasal in bold because mucus doesn't necessarily mean nasal mucus, but it can be clear from the context (get the mucus out of your nose) which type you're referring to. Other acceptable, natural ways of saying getting mucus out of someone's nose include getting rid of nasal mucus, clearing out mucus in the nose, clearing mucus from the nose, etc.
    – user3395
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 13:56
  • Thank you a lot. In addition to getting my answer, I learned some words and phrases like "booger", "clear out mucus in the nose".etc Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 14:06

1 Answer 1


Here is a typical sentence describing this activity:

He decided he would have to make do with flicking bogeys again, however when he put his finger up his nose to get some snot his finger got stuck. The Giant's revenge

stick and poke can be used instead of put, and in can be used instead of up, but it is less common. You can also use have or with if the person spends some time with a finger up his nose.

According to this NGRAM, into is rare, and inside does not occur at all.

This is not a polite activity, and the words place and nostril are far too formal.

take is the wrong direction: it would be appropriate for removing a finger from a nose, but not for inserting it.

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