I would like to know if the usage of "to slip through your hands" is a major idiomatic error. Should it be "slip through your fingers"?

As in:

It may sometimes seem an opportunity slipped through your hands.

  • Not entirely unknown. Fingers is more usual. But it would be helpful to know more of the context. – WS2 Nov 23 '15 at 17:53
  • @WS2 I am trying to say, for example, "You let the opportunity slip through your hands by not signing the contract." – Starior Nov 23 '15 at 18:01
  • 2
    Yes. That would be idiomatic. More usual to say fingers, but hands is fine. – WS2 Nov 23 '15 at 18:25
  • NGram supports the (apparently popular) notion that fingers is more common but hands is acceptable. – Nonnal Nov 23 '15 at 19:47

Although it is not as common as slip through your fingers, some things can slip through your hands - like a rope or a fish - rather than through your fingers, like sand.

  • How about intangible things like opportunity? I know there are many examples for the usage of "an opportunity slipping through someone's fingers" but can "hands" be used instead of "fingers" here? – Starior Nov 23 '15 at 17:59
  • Yes, that's the usage the OP used in his example. You would really only use an idiom in the case of an intangible. If it were a tangible, you would just say it literally, "the football slipped through my hands". – DJ Far Nov 23 '15 at 18:09
  • So just trying to confirm: The usage OP used in his example is grammatically correct. Right? – Starior Nov 23 '15 at 18:19
  • Yes, the grammar is fine. – DJ Far Nov 23 '15 at 19:26

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