When we say

"Everybody hurts sometimes"

does it sound/suggest it has a passive-voice meaning too even though it is written grammatically in active voice.

Does have both meaning that " people can harm other people " and " people can be affected in bad way/ harmed by other people's bad behaviors".

Normally I know we say :

  1. I never meant to hurt your feelings.

( to cause someone emotional pain )Active voice


  1. Fred’s knees hurt after skiing all day.

( to feel pain somewhere in your body ) Active voice

So can we rewrite the latter sentence

  1. Fred's knees get hurt after skiing all day.

. (Passive voice)

What is the difference between sentence 2 and sentence 3 ?

Example sentences were cited from Macmillan Dictionary.

  • Have you heard "everybody hurts sometimes" anywhere that gave rise to your question? If so, "details, please".
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 10, 2015 at 19:45
  • Is this question possibly related to the lyrics to "Everybody Hurts," by R.E.M? If so, you're missing an "s." azlyrics.com/lyrics/rem/everybodyhurts.html
    – Adam
    Feb 10, 2015 at 19:51
  • @Adam It is but actually I am 'inspired' :) by the song. I would like to learn how to use the word 'hurt' properly that has been making me confused years
    – Mrt
    Feb 10, 2015 at 20:06

1 Answer 1


Everybody hurts sometimes

just means that people (in general) sometimes feels good and sometimes feel bad (having some pain or difficulty or such, collectively hurts). As written it is a set phrase that would be understood this way.

2) Fred’s knees hurt after skiing all day.

is fine. But I wouldn't use get in 3.

You could say something like:

Fred's knees were hurting after skiing all day.
Fred's knees started to hurt after skiing all day.

  • Thank you for your answer.So we cannot use the verb hurt in passive voice.So "everybody hurts" has two meanings.
    – Mrt
    Feb 10, 2015 at 20:28
  • You could say "Did you get hurt? supposing some possibility, but in an actual statement of fact either you hurt or you don't.
    – user3169
    Feb 10, 2015 at 20:33
  • I think people can hurt and get hurt but things only hurt includes our body parts according to your answer.
    – Mrt
    Feb 10, 2015 at 20:45
  • Can we say "did you get hurt yourself" and "did you hurt yourself" both?
    – Mrt
    Feb 10, 2015 at 20:48
  • "I heard you were in a car crash that killed two people. Did you get hurt yourself?" The yourself is not totally necessary. It doesn't change the overall meaning, but does redirect the emphasis back to the person at whom the question is directed.
    – Adam
    Feb 10, 2015 at 20:52

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