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So does a dog bite me on the leg or in the leg - and does it matter.

Hit on the head: smacked in the face. Is there a rule here?
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AnonymousSo does a dog bite me on the leg or in the leg - and does it matter.

Hit on the head: smacked in the face. Is there a rule here? No
slapped in / across the face. punched on the nose / in the stomach; kicked / shot in the arse, slapped on it; She hit me over the head (implies greater intent than "on the head," i.e., it was not accidental.)
"on the leg" is better. The dog's teeth mainly damage the surface of the skin. More often we say "he was shot in the leg", because the main damage is in the interior of the leg, muscle or bone. I have seen both prepositions though.
"on the head" is correct.

"in the face" is correct. The reason is that the face is defined by an oval shape. Inside this oval are the eyes, nose, mouth - that is where the smacking happens.
You can say more specifically - He smacked me "on the left cheek" or "on the nose"
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AnonymousSo does a dog bite me on the leg or in the leg - and does it matter.

Hit on the head: smacked in the face. Is there a rule here?

All you have to go on is speaker preference, and that's dependent on the verb meaning, the body part, and the individual speaker. Penetration usually argues for "in", but it's not reliable enough to consider it a rule.

I prefer "kicked in the shins", "knocked on the head", and "stabbed in the heart", for example!

"smacked in the face" sounds right to me as well, but I'd accept either "bit on the leg" or "bit in the leg".

CJ
The use of "in" seems to shift the focus from the type of injury to the location. I can't think of any location where "in" would not be allowed. There are, however, some locations where "on" would not be allowed, eg., "on the groin, on the stomach," although we might say "on the abdomen."

Of course "in" is almost always used for bullet wounds (penetration, as CJ says). "Stabbed" usually implies penetration, as opposed to "cut on the arm by a knife-wielding maniac." "Internal organs would use "in" - "in the liver, in the pancreas."

While I agree with "kicked in the shin(s)" as a fixed expression, I'd probably say "the dog bit me on the shin," deferring to A. Stars' lack of penetration.
Avangi"the dog bit me on the shin," deferring to A. Stars' lack of penetration.
I'm surprised anyone would think that a dog bite does not involve penetration. I assure you from personal experience that penetration is one of its main features!

Emotion: smile
CJ
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Every dog has his day. Emotion: embarrassed