Use of missing in sentences below confuses me. I couldn’t understand why “missing” is used in fist sentence before “finger” and why it is used after “finger.

I am missing a finger.

I have a finger missing.

Would it be correct if i say;

I am one finger missing .


My one finger is missing.

  • "I am one finger, missing", is correct if you are in fact a finger and missing, but I doubt that is the case.
    – E.Aigle
    May 27 '21 at 13:25

English (and I'm sure all languages) depends on your intent. Are you trying to identify a specific missing finger, or are you simply stating that one of the many fingers that you normally have is missing?

You have ten digits: eight fingers and two thumbs.

I am missing a finger.

I have a finger missing.

Both mean that one of the eight fingers you would normally have is missing. Both sentences refer to a current condition. Where I am in the western U.S., the first example would be more common to hear or read.

Keep in mind that the current condition is "missing." This is important to understand as we discuss the next example.

I am one finger missing.

This is incorrect. It is an attempt to be more specific, but the grammar doesn't work. "one finger missing" is not an adjective phrase that can be applied to a human or any other creature.

Think of it this way, you can legitimately say, "I am missing." This means your current condition is that you are not where you should be. It would be similar to saying, "I am lost." Because nothing more specific has been said, it is assumed that what is missing is you, the speaker.

You could say, "I am missing one finger," but that is the same as "I am missing a finger." In both cases, only one finger is identified (but not which finger).

Finally, and although very uncommon, it is grammatically correct to say,

My one finger is missing.

It's a bit verbose, meaning you're saying more than is needed to get the point across, but it's legitimate. It would be more efficient (and more common) to say, "My finger is missing."

The Details

Please remember that the gerund missing is describing a condition or state-of-being. Something is missing. Without additional information, the assumption is that the subject of the sentence is missing in its entirety.

That is missing.

The box is missing.

You're missing.

What follows the word "missing" adds detail. What is missing? My finger.

I am missing a finger.

Which finger?

I am missing one of my eight fingers.

In both of the two previous examples, the subject is "I," or the speaker. The additional detail of "a finger" or "one of my eight fingers" was added to make the sentence more specific.

But, which finger exactly?

The index finger on my right hand is missing.

In that last example, the subject of the sentence is "index finger on my right hand," and that is what is missing.

  • 1
    "My one finger is missing" sounds like you have only one finger and you have misplaced it.
    – E.Aigle
    May 27 '21 at 13:26

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