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bite [intransitive, transitive] to use your teeth to cut into or through something

Does your dog bite?

Come here! I won't bite! (= you don't need to be afraid)

bite into/through something She bit into a ripe juicy pear.

bite somebody/something She was bitten by the family dog.

Stop biting your nails!

bite off something/sth off He bit off a large chunk of bread/He bit a large chunk of bread off.


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Are these valid, idiomatic and roughly similar?

-The dog bit into his leg

-The dog bit him into his leg

-The dog bit his leg

Note:

For the verb "poke", We can say "He poked me in the eye" & "He poked in my eye"

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  • We cannot say, "He poked in my eye"
    – gotube
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 23:59

2 Answers 2

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Your second example, "... bit him into his leg" is not idiomatic.
For the other two choices...

Note the example in your definition, "bit into a juicy pear"; the connotation of "bit into" is that the biting is just starting.

The last example is the most idiomatic.

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  • But why people say "He poked me in the eyes" and "He poked in my eyes", but we can't apply that kind of saying into "He bit me into the leg" & "He bit into my leg"?. English is strange,
    – Tom
    Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 4:40
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    You can say "He poked me in the eye[s]." and you can say "The dog bit me in the leg.", or "The dog bit into my leg." Just not "bit me into the leg". The reason is that "bite into" is a phrasal verb describing a kind of biting, and you can't split it to insert a direct object. And I'll bet your native language would be strange to me, too! Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 5:06
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    @Tom: "He bit me into the leg" is wrong because it sounds semantically equivalent to "he chased me into the garden". It's me that's going into the garden... that's fine. It's me that's going into my leg... that's not fine. Comparing it to "he poked me in the eye": in defines a place, into defines a direction.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 0:19
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The three options are not similar.

The dog bit into his leg.

This sounds like the dog is taking a chunk of his leg off with its bite, as if it were eating him. 😰 (It does not have to mean this, but it at least means the bite was very intense).

The dog bit him into his leg.

This is not grammatically correct.

The dog bit his leg.

This is probably what you meant.

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