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  1. Key Member
    Student or Learner
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      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 1,618

    no pain, no pains

    I've read the proverb 'No pains, no gains' in quite a few English dictionaries compiled in China. But the Macmillan Dictionary says 'No pain, no gain'. Which is right? Or are both right?

    Thank you.

  2. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
    English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • English
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      • UK
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      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,037

    Re: no pain, no pains

    I've only heard the singular, but I'm sure it would be possible to concoct a context where the plural would work.


    • Join Date: Jun 2007
    • Posts: 556

    Re: no pain, no pains

    Bob, I can imagine using the plural in some contexts (maybe a mother having labor pains? Actually, it's hard to come up with something) but I can't imagine it being listed in a dictionary that way.

    As far as I know, this expression originated during the aerobic exercise class craze in the 1970s, and was intended to spur on the panting, suffering exercisers.

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