pain in Spanish

How to express pain in Spanish

Do you know how to express pain in Spanish?

El verbo DOLER

In Spanish to express pain we use the verb DOLER. This verb can be confusing for students because we usually translate the verb “to hurt” as DOLER but both verbs have different grammar structures.  The real meaning of DOLER would be “to cause pain”

Me duele la cabeza / My head hurts

Me duele el estómago / My stomach hurts

This verb has the same structure that the verb GUSTAR” . The subject of the sentence is the part of the body where you have the pain ( head, stomach…) and is placed after the verb.

We use the verb DOLER only in the third person singular or plural and we use the following recipe:

Indirect object pronoun + 3rd person singular or plural verb + noun(s)

Me duele la cabeza (singular) (cabeza is the subject of the sentence)

Me duelen los pies (plural) ( pies is the subject of the sentence)

To know who has the pain we need to use an indirect object pronoun (me, te, le, nos, os, les) and the person (although this is optional) preceded by the proposition A.

A mi hija le duele la espalda.

A Paco le duelen las muelas.

Another particularity in Spanish that you can notice watching the examples is that we don’t use possesives when we talk about body parts using the verb “DOLER” as we usually do in english.

It hurts in Spanish

TENER DOLOR DE… another way to express pain in Spanish

Another way to express pain in Spanish is using the following expression…


So if you want to say “My stomach hurts” you can say …

Me duele el estómago” o ” Tengo dolor de estómago”.

Both sentences have the same meaning but in the second one you don’t use the special structure for the verb “DOLER” . You use the verb “TENER”

Now that you have learned how to express pain in Spanish let’s practice…

Muy bien !! Now if you want to know more about illnesses and symptoms in Spanish have a look to my post At the doctor’s office in Spanish

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2 comentarios en “How to express pain in Spanish”

  1. Hi, in your introduction me ” Me duele la cabeza” y ” Me duele el estómago” you need to put an “s” ending to the verbos,. My head hurtS. and My stomach hurtS.


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