The word "pain" is similar to the word "hurt, but "pain" is usually a noun while "hurt" is a verb. Compare these sentences:

  • My leg hurts.
  • I have a pain in my leg.
  • Her stomach hurts.
  • She has a pain in her stomach.
  • She has stomach pain.
  • His back hurts.
  • He has a pain in his lower back.
  • He has back pain.
  • The shot from the nurse hurt.
  • The shot was very painful. (The word "painful" is an adjective.)

back painHe has back pain.

This word is used for more than just physical pain. You can also use it when describing emotional or mental pain:

  • Isabella is in a lot of pain over the death of her father.
  • The family’s pain and suffering following the loss of the baby was almost too much to bear.
  • A divorce can be a painful experience. (The word "painful" is an adjective.)
  • It pains me to say this, but I’m ending our relationship. (This sentence uses "pain" as a verb.)

There are also a few expressions that include the word "pain."

  • Moustapha says his boss is a pain in the neck. (a pain in the neck = a person or situation that causes problems)
  • This computer is nothing but a pain. (It’s not working properly.)
  • I feel your pain. (I sympathize with you.)
  • No pain, no gain. (This is an expression that weighlifters use. If you don’t experience a little bit of pain while you exercise, you won’t develop big muscles.)


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This page was first published on September 13, 2012. It was updated on August 16, 2015.