Expression: "I am hurting"


I am aware that Americans use the expression “I am hurting” in everyday conversation. I would like to know how this expression would sound to British ears–unnatural, odd, wrong etc?


Hi Tom,

To me it has a comical interpretation and that’s probably because I associate it with a line from The Producers by Mel Brooks made into a hilarious film with Gene Wilder as the timid accountant, Bloom and latterly into a musical on stage, which I saw recently in the West End in London. Bloom suffers from panic attacks and the Producer tries to shake it out of him by hitting him and poor Bloom squeaks out: ‘I’m hurting’. So in a way I can’t easily disassociate the word from that in my mind. Objectively however it would sound to me a rather pitiful cry for help sort of remark and almost childlike. Best I can do.


I’m curious, Tom. What sort of unique AmE meaning or usage do you attribute to the sentence you posted? What context(s) have you heard or read it in? Have you been told that the sentence is a fixed expression (i.e. always in the first person singular and in the present continuous)?


Hi Alan

Many, many thanks.

Hi Amy

In one of the movies I recently watched, the heroine’s mother said to her:

1-My darling baby, I know you are hurting and I also know that something better will come along.

I just wanted to know if a sentence sounds natural to your ears(?) Hurting in a sense of suffering.


That sounds like a pretty standard usage of ‘hurting’ to me, Tom.

There are more colloquial ways to use ‘hurting’ in AmE. Sometimes ‘hurting’ used informally to describe a person or thing which is in bad shape/condition or isn’t working properly.

For example:

  • If my car is running, but just barely, I might tell you that ‘my car is really hurting’.
  • If John is broke, I might tell you that ‘he’s hurting for money’.