I would appreciate it if someone could tell me which one of the following self-made sentences does not sound natural. (To me, the only natural one is the #3 and other sentences do not sound idiomatic and natural. I don't know why! Perhaps because I've heard the #3 many times.)

1) Don’t use that supplement or your stomach will be damaged.

2) Don’t use that supplement or your stomach will be harmed.

3) Don’t use that supplement or your stomach will hurt.

4) Don’t use that supplement or your stomach will be hurt.

P.S. please let me know which ones and why do not sound natural in this sense?

  • 1
    They're all "credible". Usually, to harm implies cause damage deliberately, but in your context it's fine because the harm would be caused by a deliberate act (unwisely taking the supplement). #3 can only means you will experience pain in your stomach (which may or may not result in long-term damage), but #4 could be used to mean your stomach would be permanently damaged (perhaps shortening your life expectancy) even though you might not feel the effects at the time (perhaps the symptoms might be "dormant" for years or even decades). Mar 23, 2017 at 15:18
  • 2
    FumbleFingers is correct (as usual). The simple answer is that 1, 2 & 3 are all OK, while 4 sounds a bit odd. Mar 23, 2017 at 15:33
  • @FumbleFingers Unfortunately I cannot follow you where you say: "#3 can only means you..."! Could you please explain a bit more about #3?
    – A-friend
    Mar 23, 2017 at 16:38
  • 2
    My stomach hurts actually means I am experiencing feelings of pain originating from my stomach. But I could feasibly say My stomach is damaged in a context where even though I'm not actually feeling any pain, I know that damage has occurred. And even though in that specific context we wouldn't normally use hurt, it would still refer to the fact of the stomach being harmed, rather than the pain potentially associated with that harm. Mar 23, 2017 at 16:47
  • 1
    All of the above comments are good advice. #4 is grammatically correct, has a legitimate meaning, and would be understood, but "hurt" isn't typically used in this exact way. "Will be hurt" is often used to mean emotionally. It is also used as a vague term for serious, unspecified injury. "If you fight that guy, you will be hurt." It isn't typically applied to a very specific injury like this. A term like damaged, harmed, or injured would be more natural.
    – fixer1234
    Mar 24, 2017 at 3:35

1 Answer 1


All four of them are grammatically and semantically valid. All are natural, and all have different meanings or nuance - albeit slightly in some cases.

Let's look at the third first. In that case, we have an active voice verb in the final clause, to hurt. It is intransitive, and your stomach is the subject. When to hurt is intransitive, it generally means that the subject is the site of a sensation of pain, or if the subject is a being, that the being experiences pain. So, this says that you will experience pain in your stomach if you use that supplement.

The other three have your stomach as the subject of the verb in the final sentence, but always in the passive voice. That means they would be the object in the active voice, but without a specified subject. So it is effectively saying that some unspecified something will either damage, harm, or hurt your stomach.

Where anything does any of those things to a living thing, or part of a living thing, or sometimes to any physical object, the meaning overlaps. If something is harmed, it is in some way damaged, and if something is hurt there's arguably a degree of harm. Hurt is the weakest, and most informal. Damage, to me, gives the strongest sense of real, lasting harm/damage, while harm is a little milder. That may vary between dialects, though.

I would say damage seems the most natural, if you're intending to give that sense at all.

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