Do you agree with this article about "damages"?


He will pay for the damages.

1 If "damages" means compensation then the sentence is wrong, right?

2 Can it mean the plural of damage as the article says?

  • 2
    If 'damages' only means compensation for a wrong or loss then, yes, the sentence is wrong, but the article you linked to says that using it in place of the non-count 'damage' is non-standard but increasing. Is that what you are asking? Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 16:33
  • Both points are of interest to me. The first one you have answered.
    – user1425
    Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 16:34
  • The second one is answered by the article you linked to. Not in standard dictionaries, but increasingly common nevertheless. I am not sure why you needed to ask your question, since you appear to have found the answer. Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 16:39
  • 1
    I would say not that it is a "non-standard" use but that it reflects a general ignorance of legal terminology. A law suit might seek "damages", compensation for harm or damage. To "pay for the damages" is a mish-mash of the two meanings.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 16:39
  • @TimR - Yes. The loser in a case may have to pay damages. Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


"He will pay damages" is the standard expression when you are talking about (usually court applied) financial compensation. Here "damages" means an amount of money.

"He will pay for the damage" is the standard way to talk about damage. Here "damage" means physical harm that reduces value or function.

The example in the question is non-standard, and appears to be a mix of meanings. It would be considered incorrect in an essay for college or a formal letter.

The linked article makes this point. You should only use "damages" to mean "a sum of money" not to mean "multiple instances of physical harm".

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