Here are some common expressions that you can use to describe general aches and pains.
General aches and pains
- I’m not feeling very well.
- I think I’m going down with a cold. I’ve got a sore throat.
- I’ve got a slight headache/ toothache / stomach ache / backache.
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- I’m not sleeping very well at the moment.
- I feel a little faint.
- I’ve got a nagging pain in my shoulder.
- I’ve got a splitting headache.
- I feel fine.
- I always feel sleepy on Mondays.
- I have a bit of a stomach bug.
- I think I’ve got a bit of a temperature. Why don’t you go home and have a lie-down?
- I am not feeling well. I must get some rest.
- I’ve got a nasty cough.
- You don’t look very well. What happened? I have a touch of flu.
- You look a little pale.
To talk about feelings that are going on at a particular moment, simple or progressive forms can be used.
- I feel fine. OR I am feeling fine.
- How do you feel? OR How are you feeling?
Ill and sick
Ill is often used to mean unwell in British English. In American English ill is unusual except in a formal style. Note that we use ill after a verb.
- She is ill.
In Attributive position (before a noun), many British people prefer to use sick. Sick is also the normal informal American word for unwell.
- The President is sick.
Be sick can mean vomit.
- I was sick three times in the night.
- She is never sea-sick.
- I feel sick. Where is the bathroom?
The names of illnesses are usually uncountable in English, including those ending in -s.
- If you have already had measles, you cannot get it again.
- There is a lot of flu around at the moment.
The can be used informally before the names of some common illnesses such as the measles, the flu; others have no article.
- I think I have got (the) measles.
- Have you had chickenpox?
The words for some minor ailments are countable: e.g. a cold, a sore throat, a headache. However, toothache, earache, stomach-ache and backache are more often uncountable in British English. In American English, these words are generally countable.
- I have got a horrible cold.
- Have you got a headache?
- I am getting toothache. (GB)
- I am getting a toothache. (US)