Inside or insides? How to talk about worrying issues

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The gnawing at his insides, the tinge of uneasiness, the premonition of calamity that besieged him would not desist.

Questions:

  1. Why the author used "insides" rather than "inside"? Is it grammatically correct?

  2. Is it correct to say: "The gnawing in his inside(s)", or "The gnawing in him" ?


The source is a book you can find it here

Cardinal

Posted 2015-12-25T17:29:24.300

Reputation: 5 877

Question was closed 2015-12-25T22:48:32.707

4From a dictionary: "insides: viscera, entrails —usually used in plural" – CowperKettle – 2015-12-25T17:32:46.180

Was "insides" a euphemism for "guts"? – Jasper – 2015-12-25T19:25:46.557

It has nothing to do with "spelling, meaning or pronunciation", although the first part can be found in dictionaries, as copper suggested, but the dictionary does not say anything about the reasons and of course, the second question. Thanks for evaluating the question. – Cardinal – 2015-12-25T23:04:55.180

RE: the dictionary does not say anything about the reasons and of course, the second question. If you include what you found when you did check the dictionary, I'll gladly reopen this. – J.R. – 2015-12-25T23:37:30.757

Answers

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"Insides" refers collectively to all of one's internal organs. The singular is not used in this case; if you're only referring to one, you can specify which organ.

"Gnawing on my insides" is an expression, so trying to make it into literally "gnawing at what's inside of me" ruins the colloquialism and makes it sound like maybe you're being eaten by rats.

The other side of the expression would be

the anxiety that had been gnawing inside me for so long...

but notice this use of the singular inside does not refer to one's entrails, but to the location of the feelings, and says nothing of ones guts.

So "insides" means guts, but "inside" only refers to where your insides are not the insides themselves.

EDIT:

Is it correct to say: "The gnawing in his inside(s)", or "The gnawing in him" ?

Both of these would depend on context. I would write them as:

"The frustration gnawing in his insides", or "The anger gnawing in him"

in order to make it clear you are using the figurative "insides" (plural when referring to innards), but if the context make this clear, then the way you wrote them would be understandable as well.

Another similar expression is:

The worry eating away at me...

Will

Posted 2015-12-25T17:29:24.300

Reputation: 673

1thanks for the answer , but what about the second question ? – Cardinal – 2015-12-25T20:09:40.307

1@Cardinal Edited. This expression is worded oddly sometimes, even by native speakers. If you're in the right ballpark, people can generally understand what you mean. – Will – 2015-12-25T20:57:56.027

2I agree that insides is not used in the singular when it refers to the stomach and intestines. That said, we can also say, "I felt a gnawing on the inside". – J.R. – 2015-12-25T23:39:12.890