Welcome to English Language Learners Stack Exchange

English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about learning the English language.

We're a little bit different from other sites. Here's how:


Ask questions, get answers, no distractions

This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat.

Just questions...

...and answers.

up vote

Good answers are voted up and rise to the top.

The best answers show up first so that they are always easy to find.

accept

The person who asked can mark one answer as "accepted".

Accepting doesn't mean it's the best answer, it just means that it worked for the person who asked.

Is there any difference between being ill and sick?

up vote 14 down vote favorite

I can say I'm ill or I'm sick. But what is the difference between the usage of these terms?

I've heard that one can use sick for longer-term and ill for shorter-term, but is that really correct? How are these terms different for native speakers?

2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accept

From a British perspective, I'm ill is more common and general term for when you're unwell.

Being sick can refer to actually throwing up or vomiting, but it can also be used for being generally unwell.

up vote 3 down vote

Illness refers to a medical condition.

Sickness refers to the way one feels.

Illness often makes one feel sick, so the terms are often used interchangeably in colloquial speech.

But, one can be ill without being (feeling) sick. Likewise, one might feel sick after, say, seeing blood, without being ill.


Get answers to practical, detailed questions

Focus on questions about an actual problem you have faced. Include details about what you have tried and exactly what you are trying to do.

Ask about...

  • Specific issues with learning the English language
  • Real problems or questions that you’ve encountered

Not all questions work well in our format. Avoid questions that are primarily opinion-based, or that are likely to generate discussion rather than answers.

Questions that need improvement may be closed until someone fixes them.

Don't ask about...

  • Anything not directly related to learning the English language
  • Questions that are primarily opinion-based
  • Questions with too many possible answers or that would require an extremely long answer

Tags make it easy to find interesting questions

All questions are tagged with their subject areas. Each can have up to 5 tags, since a question might be related to several subjects.

Click any tag to see a list of questions with that tag, or go to the tag list to browse for topics that interest you.

Is there any difference between being ill and sick?

up vote 14 down vote

I can say I'm ill or I'm sick. But what is the difference between the usage of these terms?

I've heard that one can use sick for longer-term and ill for shorter-term, but is that really correct? How are these terms different for native speakers?


You earn reputation when people vote on your posts

Your reputation score goes up when others vote up your questions, answers and edits.

+5 question voted up
+10 answer voted up
+15 answer is accepted
+2 edit approved

As you earn reputation, you'll unlock new privileges like the ability to vote, comment, and even edit other people's posts.

Reputation Privilege
15 Vote up
50 Leave comments
125 Vote down (costs 1 rep on answers)

At the highest levels, you'll have access to special moderation tools. You'll be able to work alongside our community moderators to keep the site focused and helpful.

500 Vote to close, reopen, or migrate questions
1000 Edit other people's posts
2000 Access to moderation tools
see all privileges

Improve posts by editing or commenting

Our goal is to have the best answers to every question, so if you see questions or answers that can be improved, you can edit them.

Use edits to fix mistakes, improve formatting, or clarify the meaning of a post.

Use comments to ask for more information or clarify a question or answer.

You can always comment on your own questions and answers. Once you earn 50 reputation, you can comment on anybody's post.

Remember: we're all here to learn, so be friendly and helpful!

up vote 9 down vote

From a British perspective, I'm ill is more common and general term for when you're unwell.

Being sick can refer to actually throwing up or vomiting, but it can also be used for being generally unwell.

edit

Yeah, in the USA, it can also mean generally being unwell, in addition to vomiting. But we wouldn't use get ill to mean vomiting in the USA. - Ryan Jan 23 '13 at 21:39

add comment


Unlock badges for special achievements

Badges are special achievements you earn for participating on the site. They come in three levels: bronze, silver, and gold.

In fact, you can earn a badge just for reading this page:

 Informed Read the entire about page
 Student Asked first question with score of 1 or more
 Editor First edit
 Good Answer Answer score of 25 or more
 Civic Duty Voted 300 or more times
 Famous Question Asked a question with 10,000 views

see all badges


Find a question to answer, or ask your own

Looking for more in-depth information on the site? Visit the Help Center

English Language Learners Stack Exchange is part of the Stack Exchange network

Like this site? Stack Exchange is a network of 118 Q&A sites just like it. Check out the full list of sites.

Stack Exchange