Tuesday, 3 April 2012

What Is Wrong With You?


This post deals with talking about health issues such as aches and pains.

Imagine you are unwell and find yourself in one of the following situations:
  1. You have an appointment at your doctor's practice. After exchanging customary greetings, the doctor says to you something like: "can I help you/ how can I help you/ what seems to be the problem/ what is wrong with you?"
  2. You are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. On learning that you are not feeling well, the other person says to you something like: "what is wrong with you/ what is troubling you?"

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
¿Qué te pasa?

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
¿Que le pasa (a usted)?


The question is an invitation for you to say what is wrong with you. When stating what your problem is/ what is hurting, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating what your problem is. Perhaps what you want to say is that:
  • Something is hurting
  • You have the symptoms of a particular illness/ ailment
  • You have had some kind of accident

Here are some examples of how you could say what is wrong with you:
  • Me duele la cabeza (my head hurts)
  • Tengo dolor de cabeza ( I have a sore head)
  • Me duele la garganta (my throat hurts)
  • Tengo dolor de garganta ( I have a sore throat)
  • Me duele el estómago (my stomach hurts)
  • Tengo dolor de estómago ( I have a sore stomach)
  • Me duele la espalda (my back hurts/ I have a sore back)
  • Me duelen los oídos (my ears hurt)
  • Tengo gripe (I have the flu)
  • Tengo un resfriado ( I have a cold)
  • Me ha picado una abeja (I have been stung by a bee)
  • Me ha mordido un perro (I have been bitten by a dog)
  • Me he quemado en la mano (I have burned my hand)
  • Me he cortado en un dedo (I have cut my finger)
  • Me he caído de la bicicleta (I have fallen off my push bike)
  • Me he dado un golpe en la cabeza (I have banged my head)

Now you should practice answering the question:
¿Qué te pasa?

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