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I was watching this video and noticed the title. I would have thought that it would be something like 自分の目で確かめよう to mean "see for yourself". But instead it is

その目で確かめよう

which would have the literal meaning of "Confirm with those eyes." その手 seems like it might be used in a similar way (その手に触れるまで seems like it might something similar and at least appears in some songs/movies), but when are some other times one might use そのX to mean "your X"?

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  • Those eyes as in, "Those eyes (you have)" possibly? – ajsmart Jan 23 '20 at 14:42
  • That's what I'm guessing it's probably being interpreted as, which of course feels weird to me as a non-native. I wonder if this is limited to just a few phrases or more generally usable. – Ringil Jan 23 '20 at 15:20
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    As a native English speaker I don't find "those eyes" to be too weird. But if I pad it out to "those eyes of yours" then it becomes perfectly natural. Sadly, I have no idea if that nuance carries across to Japanese. – user3856370 Jan 23 '20 at 18:53
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When it's used with a body parts and the message is given towards no one specific, I feel that it has a nuance of "your OWN (body parts)". So, その目で確かめよう is like See it with your OWN eyes or See it with your eyes. both translations make sense. This is often used in a TV commercial, poem etc and the message is given to anyone, no one specific.

Some other times we might use そのX to mean "your OWN (body parts)" would be:

  • (あなた自身の/あなたの)その手で試してみてください
  • (あなた自身の/あなたの)その手で夢をつかみとれ
  • (あなた自身の/あなたの)その耳で確かめよう
  • (あなた自身の/あなたの)その目で確かめよう
  • (あなた自身の/あなたの)その心で感じよう

The その in その手に触れるまで is very similar but it's used more as a simple "your" and it sounds like the speaker is thinking about a hand of someone specific like someone the speaker is in love with, etc. Unlike the examples above, the translation for this one would be until I touch your hand. It can't really be translated as until I touch your own hand.

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その is typically used when a speaker is actually seeing something near the listener. For example, an angry person may say (お前の)その耳は飾りか? ("Are those ears (of yours) just for show?"). So this use of その makes the message sound more dramatic because it sounds as if someone were seeing YOU and conveying this message directly to YOU (imagine that "I want YOU" poster). To take another example, a warning message for ore-ore fraud may look like その電話は本物ですか (Is THIS call genuine?), which sounds dramatic and close-at-hand.

It's also perfectly fine to say あなたのその目で確かめよう, but a word like あなたの is usually omitted in Japanese anyway.

EDIT: As chocolate pointed out, この sometimes works like a "vivid/emphatic version of my", too (e.g., この目で見たんです!).

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  • Sorry just want some clarification but when you say warning message, is その電話は本物ですか something you might say when you receive a call? – Ringil Jan 24 '20 at 11:02
  • @Ringil Yes, this 電話 refers to a call, not a device. – naruto Jan 24 '20 at 11:30
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    @Ringil Just for clarification, naruto is saying that その電話は本物ですか is what you may see as a warning message for ore-ore fraud (e.g. an article or a TV commercial to warn you about the fraud, etc). You wouldn't say it to the caller when you receive a call, if that's what you are wondering. – kabichan Jan 24 '20 at 18:23

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