Is it correct to say 'you will hurt' or 'you will get hurt'? I read this quote on the net:

“It’s not a question of whether you will hurt, or of how much you will hurt; it’s a question of what you will do, and how well you will do it, while pain has her wanton way with you.”

― Daniel James Brown, The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

And another thing - the her in the last line it's meant a person or otherwise it should be 'pain has his wanton'.


1 Answer 1


It's fine, but it's atypical phrasing in order to emphasize that the pain will happen, and when it does, it will happen to them, personally. This makes it a kind of threat, but also a challenge.

The more common phrasing would be:

It’s not a question of whether it will hurt, or of how much it will hurt ...

As Jason Bassford's comment mentions, "her" is a feminine personification of the general concept of pain, which otherwise would be gender-neutral. There is often a difference in nuance between calling something "he" vs. "she" -- but since this is mostly personal interpretation (and hardly specific to English) I leave it to you to imagine why the coach characterizes pain as female.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .