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Thread: Ache Vs Pain

  1. #1
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    Default Ache Vs Pain

    Dear All,

    I hope this message finds you in good health.

    Can someone please explain the difference between ache and pain.

    Why can't we say 'I've got a head pain' or "I've got a leg ache'.

    In English Why do we say 'I've got a toothache' and not teethache if more then one tooth is hurting.

    Appreciate your help.

    KN

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ache Vs Pain

    Hi Dr Ibrahim,

    Who better to answer these questions, many thanks for your help.

    Take care.

  3. #3
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Ache Vs Pain

    Quote Originally Posted by knicola View Post
    Dear All,
    I hope this message finds you in good health.
    Can someone please explain the difference between ache and pain.
    Why can't we say 'I've got a head pain' or "I've got a leg ache'.
    In English Why do we say 'I've got a toothache' and not teethache if more then one tooth is hurting.
    Appreciate your help.
    KN
    Head and ache are collocations (word partnerships) that always go together. You have to accept the practices of people of a specific language . In a way it is like a human partnership. Head/tooth/stomach/back don't collocate with pain as a compound but you can say: I have a pain in my wrist. These words collocate with ache. In addition "an ache" is a continuous dull pain whereas "a pain" can be either continuous or sudden.

    Toothache/headache/backache are written as one word. Stomach ache as two words. Ache is both a verb and a noun: My back aches / I have got a backache. Pain is only a noun. Alternatively you can use "hurt" as a verb: my back hurts. Another word used as an adjective is "sore" : I have got a sore wrist or a sore throat.
    Some more examples:
    I have got a pain in my chest
    I have got sore feet from jogging
    In written English you can use "ache for" to mean "a strong desire, long for":
    I was aching for home / He ached to see her.

    Ironically "ache" and "pain" can collocate as in: aches and pains
    Heart ache is figurative to mean worries
    “Pain” can also collocate with “pleasure” to form compound nouns (bi-nominals). Pain can be: dull /sharp /stabbing. People can “double up in pain”. Pains (in plural) can also mean effort: go to (take) great pains (be at pains) to help them. Some people are a pain in the neck (get on your nerves).

    Pain can be used both as a countable or as an uncountable noun because it can be physical (body) or mental (emotional).
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 12-Nov-2006 at 20:34.

  4. #4
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Default Re: Ache Vs Pain

    Is it correct to use 'a' in the sentence "I have a pain in my wrist."?

  5. #5
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Ache Vs Pain

    Quote Originally Posted by asad hussain View Post
    Is it correct to use 'a' in the sentence "I have a pain in my wrist."?
    Yes, it is. Pain can be used both as a countable or as an uncountable noun because Pain can be physical (body) or mental (emotional).

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