Parents lament their teenagers’ noses constantly in their phones.

Could you help me with the understanding of the "lament their teenagers' noses" in this sentence? I am confused about it.

3 Answers 3


Lament (... something) is used here as a transitive verb which can take an expanded phrase as its direct object. You can find similar examples here:


In other words, parents are unhappy with (or complain about) the fact that their children spend all the time with their noses buried in their phones.


The partial quote in your title suggests that you're parsing the quote such that their refers to the parents. That is, the parents are using their own phones to lament their teenagers' noses. This gives rise to the odd interpretation.

It would be more natural to associate their with the teenagers. That is, it is more natural to take the antecedent of their to be “teenagers’” rather than “parents” (credit: KarlG). The noses in the phones then refers more naturally to where the teenagers are facing during mobile phone usage.

The lament is that teenagers are using their mobile phones excessively.

  • It might have been helpful to clarify that while the antecedent of the first their is parents, teenagers' is the antecedent of the second.
    – KarlG
    Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 11:17
  • @KarlG That’s what I tried to do in the first and second paragraphs of my answer. I’ll edit.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 13:53

to bury one's nose in phrase OED

(d) to bury one's nose in: to become intently occupied with, spec. to read studiously or intently; so to have one's nose in: to be engrossed with

As in:

“Parents lament their teenagers’ burying their noses in their phones, to the exclusion of all else”

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