How much does it hurt? – degrees of pain

How much does it hurt?


How much pain do you feel?

The Vocabulary of Pain

There are many types of pain and there are many words to describe the sensation of pain.

Important Verbs

feel pain

If we make a hierarchy of more and less common words to describe pain, we should start with the verb “hurt”. It is the most common and basic verb to describe pain.

A Visit to the Doctor

If you go to the doctor for a physical examination, you will probably hear these phrases:

Where does it hurt?

Does this hurt?

Does it hurt?

Does it hurt much?

Does it hurt when you bend over?

Does it hurt when you stand up?

Does it hurt when you cough?

Does it hurt when you touch it?

Does it hurt when I touch it?

Does it hurt when you urinate?

Degrees of Pain

Severe pain is when it hurts a lot.

We also talk about types of pain.

Types of Pain

Is it a dull ache or a sharp stabbing pain?

physical pain
emotional pain
a sharp pain
a dull ache

Chronic pain is long-lasting pain which does not go away.

Aches and Pains

Aches are generally dull long-lasting or constant throbbing pains.


“Pain” is a general word to describe all types of suffering including mental suffering as well as physical suffering.

Mental Suffering

In Buddhism we learn about mental suffering and how to alleviate that suffering. We look at the cause of suffering then we try to eliminate it using the power of the mind and the power of the heart.

Read about how Theravada Buddhists free themselves from pain and suffering in this video:

Common Collocations


Word Family of Pain

Adjective – painful

It is painful.

He died a slow painful death.

Verb – pain

This verb is not so common:

It pains me to see you so miserable.

Noun – pain

He is in a lot of pain.

The next one is informal and slightly vulgar:

He is a real pain in the arse.

Love Hurts

The Scottish band “Nazareth” sings about the pain of love:

Does love hurt?

Is love always painful?

Is love sometimes painful?


A degree is a scale.

extremely painful
very painful
a bit painful – a bit sore


We use degrees to measure temperature.


You can go to university and get a degree.

Links to More Lessons

Vocabulary of Commonality – We don’t have much in common

Vocabulary of Fear – We are not Afraid

Talking about Work – the Building Game

Generalisations are not Universally True

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