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  1. #1
    Polovina is offline Newbie
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    disease vs illness

    Dear teachers,
    could you kindly help me with this sentence:

    She died after a long .........................

    disease failing illness sickness

    I've found the same phrase in Oxford Dictionaries (can't post the link, sorry), but I wonder why "disease" doesn't fit. Does it? (No keys in this test.)

    Thank you for your help!!!

  2. #2
    SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    Re: disease vs illness

    (not a teacher)

    "Illness" is the state of being sick. A disease is the actual condition. You can be ill for a long time. However, you can't be a disease for a long time. I think you could probably use 'sickness', but 'illness' sounds the most correct to me.

  3. #3
    Polovina is offline Newbie
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    Re: disease vs illness

    Thanks a lot!!!
    And what about my pupil's question:
    Cancer is a disease, so if someone dies of cancer, he dies after a long disease.
    You know, the right answer is clear to me, but I have to make it clear to a 16-year-old girl, which is not so easy )))
    Last edited by Polovina; 07-Sep-2012 at 10:17. Reason: spelling

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: disease vs illness

    Quote Originally Posted by Polovina View Post
    And what about my pupil's question:
    Cancer is a disease, so if someone dies of cancer, he dies after a long desease.
    You know, the right answer is clear for me, but I have to make it clear for a 16-year-old girl, which is not so easy )))
    No. Have a look again at what SlickVic said. You cannot have or be a long disease.

  5. #5
    SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    Re: disease vs illness

    (not a teacher)

    If you want to use disease there, I'd say something along the lines of:
    "He died after a long bout of (or with) disease."
    You can replace 'bout' with 'fight' or' struggle'.
    "He died of a long-term disease."

  6. #6
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: disease vs illness

    Cancer is a disease, so if someone dies of cancer, he dies after a long disease.
    That doesn't follow.

    If someone dies of cancer we don't say 'He died after a long cancer'.

  7. #7
    Polovina is offline Newbie
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    Re: disease vs illness

    Thank you for yor help!!!

  8. #8
    Polovina is offline Newbie
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    Re: disease vs illness

    I see that you just don't say like that, but I want to know WHY...
    People feel ILL because of a DISEASE, right? A disease is a reason, a diagnosis, so people don't die of a diagnosis, they die of a long state of illness, is such an explanation OK?

  9. #9
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    Re: disease vs illness

    Disease is o "long disease" like cancer.
    Illness is a "short illness" like a flu, a cold, etc

    Am I right?
    I just want to understand the difference between these two words?

  10. #10
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    Re: disease vs illness

    Diseases usually last more long-term, yes. An illness does not have to be short-lived though. As you said, cancer is a disease. It is also an illness. I can't explain it any better than the others. We say "He died after a long illness". We do not say "He died after a long disease". If you plan to ask "Why?" every time native speakers say "That is just how we say it", then you are in for a long and ultimately frustrating battle.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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