My wife is exercising while my child is running around close to her.

Is it correct for me to say "stay away from her or else she might hit her elbows on your face" or "stay away from her or else she might hit you on the face with her elbows"?

When we say "she might hit you on the face", "hit” here implies “hit on purpose” but mom didn’t intend to do that.

but when we say “I hit my knee on the table” means I did it by accident not on purpose.

So, the question is whether I can say “she might hit her elbows on your face”.

  • 1
    No, it is not idiomatic at all. It should be: her elbows might hit your face or hit you in the face. "I hit my elbow on something" requires the something to be solid: the floor, the door, the diving board,. Not soft tissue.
    – Lambie
    Sep 3, 2021 at 15:28
  • Why, I wonder, might the kid get hurt by his exercising mom's elbow only? There're other moving parts of her body that may make a hurtful for the child, and for the mother as well, contact of any part of her body with that of the kid. Why not just say, "you may get hurt"or "she may accidentally hit (and hurt) you?
    – Victor B.
    Sep 3, 2021 at 16:18
  • 1
    I would just say 'she might elbow you in the face". Sep 3, 2021 at 16:37
  • @MichaelHarvey Yes, but that could change the meaning....
    – Lambie
    Sep 3, 2021 at 17:45
  • @Lambie - could or would? Sep 3, 2021 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


Neither option is really incorrect from a grammar standpoint but a native speaker would not use either of them. We don't say that someone "hits on someone's face." On is used more when your face (or other part of your body) hits some inanimate object, like "I smacked my face on the open cabinet door" or in your example "I hit my knee on the table."

Instead we use "with" to indicate the object used to hit your face:

She might hit your face with her elbows.

  • Why not "She might hit you in the face"?
    – Tom
    Sep 3, 2021 at 15:30
  • That's also possible, but you would still use "... with her elbows."
    – randomhead
    Sep 3, 2021 at 15:32
  • "hit her elbows on your face" is not idiomatic. hit elbows on something requires a solid object.
    – Lambie
    Sep 3, 2021 at 15:32
  • I heard someone tell me it is wrong to say "I hit his face" but "I hit him in the face"
    – Tom
    Sep 3, 2021 at 15:35
  • @Tom Yes, it may be wrong but it is not grammatically wrong.
    – Lambie
    Sep 3, 2021 at 17:43

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