Everything Language and Grammar

Pangs or Pains?

Posted by languageandgrammar on January 8, 2009

This is as close to fast-food week as we’re ever going to get here at languageandgrammar.com. Not only did I recently talk about the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, but now I’m talking about a topic that’s been featured in a recent McDonald’s commercial: Is it stomach pangs or stomach pains when you’re hungry?

This falls into the close-but-no-cigarette category (humorously close to being correct) if you ask me. The correct term, of course, is stomach pangs, not stomach pains, but the mistaken usage is understandable. A pang is either an emotional longing or a sharp, physical pain.

Someone with an empty stomach can, apparently, feel physical pain, though, so if you’re one of those people, then perhaps you can substitute the word pains for pangs. For the rest of us, though, stick with stomach pangs when you’re merely expressing that you’re hungry.

–Paul

Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever

Sherry’s Grammar List

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