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    #1

    he was ill 4 times last year/he was sick 4 times last year

    Hello everyone,

    As I understand "feel sick" means "feel unwell and want to vomit" and "be sick" means "to vomit". I am confused about the following examples.

    My interpretation:

    1. "I was sick 4 times yesterday." (vomited 4 times)

    2. "I was sick 4 times last year." How should I interpret this sentence? (was ill 4 times or vomited 4 times last year?)

    3. "He is sick and can't come to school." (I understand this one as "he is ill" but as I have read "be sick" means "to vomit", so why can't this sentence mean that he vomits and can't come to school?)

    4. "He is ill and can't come to school." (he is not feeling well)

    Sorry about such an unpleasant topic.:)))))

    Thank you.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: he was ill 4 times last year/he was sick 4 times last year

    In BrE, "sick" tends to refer only to vomiting except in the phrase "sick days/off sick" which means "days of work/school you have missed due to illness".

    I was sick four times yesterday = I vomited four times yesterday.
    I was sick four times last year = I vomited four times last year.
    I had four sick days last year = I took the day off work four times last year due to illness.
    I was ill four times last year = On four occasions last year, I had an unspecified illness.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: he was ill 4 times last year/he was sick 4 times last year

    Americans consider "sick" to be a synonym for "ill" in many situations.

    1. We are certainly aware of the "vomit" meaning so if you said you were sick four times in one day, the only logical conclusion is that you threw up four times.

    2. "I was sick four times last year" would likely only mean "I had four instances of illness." Do people count the number of times they vomit in year? Probably not. But they might be aware of how many times they had to miss work/school due to illness.

    3. It could, but does it matter if the child is vomiting, has a fever, or something else? The school doesn't care. They care only that he's unable to attend.

    4. That's fine.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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