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Which is correct:

  1. Skin is the largest organ of the body. Skin has three layers.
  2. The skin is the largest organ of the body. Skin has three layers.
  3. Skin is the largest organ of the body. The skin has three layers.
  4. The skin is the largest organ of the body. The skin has three layers.
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    Hello Gulya. This question is probably answerable, but please make it explicit and clear about why you are unsure. What rules do you know about "the" in these situations? How would you apply those rules? Why (for example) are you sure that it should be "the body"?
    – James K
    Apr 26, 2023 at 6:25
  • If I understand you correctly, one can also say, "Skin is the largest organ of body."?
    – Gulya
    Apr 26, 2023 at 6:37
  • No, you can't. The skin is an organ, like the heart etc. Skin is a substance, like hair. Apr 26, 2023 at 8:28
  • Thank you for the clear explanation!
    – Gulya
    Apr 26, 2023 at 9:00

2 Answers 2

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I think all four versions are acceptable, though sentence 3 sounds slightly less natural than the others, at least to my ear.

It is acceptable to say "skin" because, in the given context, "skin" is an uncountable noun like "water" or "food". It refers to any amount of skin, large or small, or to the concept of "skin" as a whole.

It is also acceptable to say "the skin" because, in the given context, "the skin" is a body part. When we speak about a body part in general, we use the definite article. For example, we would say:

The heart pumps blood to the other parts of the body.

The knee is the largest joint in the body.

Here, "the heart" refers to a typical heart, not to the heart of any specific person. It is an "example" heart that stands in for all hearts. (See this other question for more details: Article with parts of the body)


Here are some example uses I found online:

Skin is the body's largest organ and, along with hair, nails, and skin-associated nerves and glands, is part of the integumentary system, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

https://www.livescience.com/health/skin-facts-about-the-bodys-largest-organ-and-its-functions

The skin is the body’s largest organ, made of water, protein, fats and minerals.

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10978-skin

Skin is the human body's largest organ.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/skin-1

To date, the skin is considered to be the largest organ.

https://www.healthline.com/health/largest-organs-in-the-body

What is the largest organ in the body? The skin is the largest of the more than 70 organs you possess.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2022/09/24/largest-organ-in-the-body/10380205002/

Skin is the largest organ of the body.

https://www.americanskin.org/resource/

The skin, comprising roughly 16% of your body mass, is thought to be your largest organ.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/27/health/new-organ-interstitium-study/index.html

The skin that covers your body is called the dermal system. [...] Skin is the body's largest organ.

https://wwwn.cdc.gov/Tsp/substances/ToxOrganListing.aspx?toxid=2

As you can see, both forms are common.

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  • @Gulya I have added more examples.
    – MJ713
    Apr 26, 2023 at 15:10
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  1. The skin is the largest organ of the body. The skin has three layers.

This one is correct.

The explanation is provided by @kate-bunting in the question comments.

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  • Kate says that skin is an organ and a substance like hair. I've never heard skin being described as substance or being compared to hair. (See what I did there?)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 27, 2023 at 5:50

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