Ache and pain

Hello! Be so kind to explain! When I go to the doctor Which word must I say: Ache or Pain? I don’t know it!
thanks in advance :shock:


Ache is precise ie toothache headache but pain is more general.


For me an ache is a milder form of pain. An ache you could just deal with, a pain is something that is going to require attention.


I’ve got a challenge for the native speakers here. :wink:
Which sentence would a doctor find more extreme?

  1. Doctor, I’ve got a severe backache.
  2. Doctor, I’ve got severe back pain.

Or would the two be the same here?


To me the pain sounds sharper, and the ache sounds duller.

I think I’ll stick to my original explanation of two years ago:

Ache is exact and pain is general. After all an ache in the neck is different from a pain in the neck, if you get my drift.


Thanks, guys.

Yes, I also think “ache” is more specific/localized. As to the severity of an ache, maybe I’m just overly sensitive as a result of my last toothache. :wink:


As a result?
Don’t I have to use the "in result " form?
(I like as a result better)

“In result of” is not really correct English. If you google it, you find very few examples, and a lot of them are in English written in places like Poland and Bulgaria. We generally say “as a result of”.

From the Oxford American Dictionary:

According to this dictionary, ache indicates a dull pain that is continuous. The word can also be used metaphorically.

Hi !

Thanks for the various ache + pain input. Although I’d agree that an ‘ache’ would generally be used for “less severe pain” and is also more “specific”, I just can’t help but think that that’s just a bit too general.
My last toothache was anything but dull. (It was, however, continuous and localized.)
But I guess I’m just being a pain. :wink:

Hi Spencer

‘As a result of’ is a standard phrase in my neck of the woods. :smiley:


My neck of the woods?
Now you got me!
I have no clue what that phrase could mean at all!
In my NECK of the WOODS?
Jeeez! :slight_smile:

Hi Spencer

Oops! Sorry about that.

“Neck of the woods” is an informal idiom for “area/region/neighborhood/vicinity”. It’s well-known in the US, but I’m not sure about Britain…


Thanks, so it’s your area.
But why?
I mean, why is that?
Does anyone know it?

Pain is sharp pain and could be sudden while ache is prolonged.

Here again, isn’t it a matter of collocation and phonetics? Don’t some terms and expressions just become set phrases because it’s easier to pronounce them this way or because a certain word sounds better than another?

Re: Neck of the woods

Why don’t you have a look at the following theory from The Phrase Finder? I found it quite interesting:

Thanks Choncita, I thought of the neck as the body-part, but I can see the the connection between the neck as the srip of a land,and the woods already,thank You.