"I have pain in my back."

Translation:J'ai une douleur au dos.

October 1, 2017

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this is so difficult to understand that I feel like quitting the French program all together.


Learning any language involves learning how it works, the basics and the quirks; stay with it, this program gives you the daily reps you need.


Alors, tu as une douleur au tête...


...à la tête (feminine) ;-)


What is the difference between what I wrote (J'ai une douleur dans mon dos), and the accepted answer


Prepositional use is just something you have to memorize in French. I can't explain it otherwise but to say that complaints of pain in the body take the preposition « à » .

« avoir mal à » + body part = "to have a pain/ ache somewhere"

That is the most common idiom I have seen:

« J'ai mal aux dents. » "I have a toothache." / "My teeth ache.

« J'ai mal à l'estomach (or mal au ventre). » "I have a stomachache."

« Mon fils a mal à la gorge. » "My son has a sore throat."

But be careful: « J'ai mal au cœur. » means "I am nauseated".

I'd probably say, « J'ai une douleur à la poitrine. » for "I'm having chest pains."

« Si vous avez une douleur de poitrine, appuyez, ou dites 1. » "If you are having chest pains, press or say '1'. " (Just to mix it up. Note the use of « de » there. )

I'd argue that most French people do not use « une douleur » to express pain, using instead the idiom « avoir mal à » .

Ah, French.


Oh, thanks, I was wondering why this one does not ascribe to the... me fait mal...configuration...


Very nice summary, Porkcfish!


why does it put "my back" and translates it as "la dos". It should put "in the back" and then it would translate as "dans la dos". "douleur au dos" is not given as an option.


le dos. "J'ai une douleur au dos" and "j'ai une douleur dans le dos" are both accepted.


Why it marked wrong: "j'ai mal à mon dos" ? preferring "j'ai mal au dos" ? Is the possessive redundant?


The possessive adjective is redundant in French. When the owner of the body part is obvious, it sounds odd in French to add a possessive adjective. In this sentence, you can only feel pain in your own back (not someone else's), therefore an article is used instead: j'ai mal au (à + le) dos.

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