Pain vs ache vs sore

Discussion in 'English Only' started by max11, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. max11 Senior Member

    Sorry this post has no contest, but I wonder which is the difference among pain, ache and sore.

    Maybe paine is acute and ache chronic?

    Thank you
  2. kittykate

    kittykate Senior Member

    Pavia, Italy
    Italy - Italian
    Hi max11,

    roughly: ache is a continuos dull pain (headache, backache, toothache); sore (adj.) means hurting when used or touched (a sore throat, sore muscles); pain is a physical suffering in a part of the body (I have a pain in my chest).

  3. neuromatico

    neuromatico Senior Member

    English (Canadian)
    Perfect explanation, Caterina. I just wanted to add two things:

    - Pain can be either acute or chronic.
    - This discussion should be in the English Only forum. :)
  4. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    Hi Max,
    Great question, and though we've done it on Spanish/English, I've searched here on IE and we've never done it formally.

    What I'm about to say applies to AE, I have no idea about BE.

    Let's get "acute" and "chronic" out of the way.
    There are formal definitions for those, and they are mostly used in formal settings.
    In a medical context, "acute pain" is less than 3-6 months (depending on who you read) and "chronic pain" lasts greater than 3-6 months.
    Any type of discomfort can be acute or chronic.
    You will occasionally hear this terms in normal conversation, but rarely.

    "Pain" is probably the broadest adjective, and is usually stronger than the other adjectives, it is often sharp in character, and can be mild or severe.
    A "paper cut" can be painful, and childbirth is REALLY painful.
    "Pain" can last for a second or for years.

    "Sore" generally means a low-level "pain" often in a joint, but any part of the body can be affected.
    It usually lasts for hours to days - it isn't for 1-2 seconds.
    If someone says "My knee is sore" after a soccer game, they are having mild pain, and it may last for a few hours or a few days (if not weeks).

    An "ache" is a pain, and usually mild, and sometimes will throb with the hearbeat.
    One of the most common places we use it is in teeth - toothache.
    It usually lasts for hours to days, weeks, months.

    "Discomfort" is any type of pain, soreness, ache, but is usually mild.

    A "twinge" is a short lived pain.

    It usually
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2008
  5. max11 Senior Member

    Thank you guys, very clear!

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