joint and muscle pains


Senior Member
Can one say
a. You have to be careful with joint and muscle pains.
instead of
b. You have to be careful with joint pains and muscle pains.

It seems to me that (a) is ambiguous. It could have the same meaning as (b), but it could be about cases where there is pain simultaneously in a joint and a muscle (or in joints and muscles).

The sentences are mine.

Many thanks.
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    In the unlikely event that you were writing about simultaneous pains,
    you could cut the ambiguity by using hyphens: "joint-and-muscle pains";
    that would make the three words function like a single adjective.

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It is perfectly possible to have joint pains and muscle pains at the same time, or have I misunderstood? It's normal usage to write 'joint and muscle pains'. The context seems to be very general.


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I agree that (a) is how most people would say it. :)

    In the somewhat unlikely scenario that it mattered whether or not the pain was in both at the same time, you could just insert "simultaneous".


    Senior Member
    English - England
    To be clear, I see the comments in the OP as stating clearly that simultaneous pains is not the intended meaning of (a).
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