clean between our teeth?

We should brush our teeth twice a day. We can also use wooden toothpicks to clean between our teeth after a meal
=> I find the phrase “to clean between our teeth” a bit strange, so I checked it on the BNC, but found no result. Please tell me if this usage is right or wrong.
Many thanks

I don’t think it’s a wrong usage 'cause we do use a toothpick to do the cleaning between our (two) teeth usually.

Hi Nessie,

I agree with Haihao. After all, our teeth are separate things and it’s between the teeth that bacteria can hide.


Thanks a lot, Alan and Haihao :slight_smile:

There’s another thing I want to ask Alan: why did you say “our teeth are seperate things” and not “our teeth are seperated things”, Alan? What’s the difference between the 2 usages? :slight_smile:

Many thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Try searching the BNC with this between * teeth.

Using between * teeth doesn’t seem to work very well on the BNC. Of the 50 results I got, only 2 contained both words (48 of 50 contained only the word teeth). In the two two results containing the word between, the meaning was basically “between upper and lower teeth”:

  • who clasped their head-dresses across their faces and between their teeth
  • another fag clamped between his teeth

BNC: between * teeth

So… what do I do now? I’m starting to get confused… (+_+)

Besides, what about “seperate things” and “seperated things”, Alan?

Many thanks in advance…

Sorry but could anybody please give me a clear indication?
Besides, please answer me about that “seperate/ seperated” thing, Alan

Many many thanks

Hi Nessie,

‘Between the teeth’ is fine when you mean ‘in between’ - down one side of one tooth and up the side of another tooth. Stop worrying, please!


Thanks a lot, Alan, and sorry for worrying too much :stuck_out_tongue:

But how about that difference between “seperate things” and “seperated things”? Do they mean completely the same?
Many thanks

Hi Nessie,

The spelling is ‘separate’ and ‘separated’. The first is a simple adjective and the second is also used to describe the noun but it is made from the past participle. Similarly - complete and completed.


No, Nessie, they do not mean exactly the same thing.

“Separated things” means that there used to be sort of real connection between the things (and now there isn’t) or that the things have been moved farther apart.

“Separate things” does not suggest that there was a previous connection or that the things have moved apart somehow.