Does it sound ok to use the ‑ing form of the intransitive verb ache meaning hurt?

  1. My stomach is aching.

instead of the simple verb:

  1. My stomach aches.

In other words, can we use the verb ache verb in to be aching continuous constructions such is/was aching, has/had been aching?

If the progressive and the non-progressive forms of the verb can both be used, which of the two is more common and comes more naturally to native speakers?

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can.

In The Gondoliers, W.S. Gilbert has the chorus of girls sing:

By a law of maiden's making,

Accents of a heart that's aching,

Even though that heart be breaking,

Should by maiden be unsaid.


Idiomatically I'd say "I have a stomach ache", using "ache" as a noun.

You can use "is aching" to suggest that the ache is temporary.

You must log in to answer this question.

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