I know “feel pain” means a feeling of suffering in a more general way and “feel a pain” is usually used to refer to a feeling of hurting in a specific part.

But I am thinking whether I need to change “pain” to its plural form “pains”, when I use the phrase “feel a pain” in the following example.

I feel a pain in my knee and left foot.

I mean, do I have to say or can I say something like the following?

I feel pains in my knee and left foot.

  • When writing use "markdown" and not HTML, that is, don't use <br> but use a blank line to separate paragraphs. Don't use code markup for quotes. Just use ordinary quotation marks, or blockquotes.
    – James K
    Jan 29, 2022 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


It's not needed.

More generally it is possible to say "I have a pen in my hand, and in my bag", and it can be understood to mean "one pen in the hand, one pen in the bag".

The same can be said with "pain". But with pens, you could have two pens in your bag, you can't have two pains in the same place, can you?. So the singular is preferred.

However you could say "I have pains all over my body".

  • Could I omit the indefinite article a in this situation to mean the same thing?
    – Wu Xiliang
    Jan 29, 2022 at 8:09
  • Yes, you could. As you say, we use a pain to refer to a localised sensation - but we don't have to include the article in that sense. Jan 29, 2022 at 9:48

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