How to Talk About Sickness in English

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You have to know different expressions if you want to be a good English speaker. Knowing more than one way to say something can make your English sound more natural, and it will help you understand native English speakers better.

Let's take a look at the most common ways to say that you are sick in English.

1. I'm sick.

Obviously, this is the basic and straightforward way.

We can also add adverbs to give more detail.

  • I am very sick.
  • I am a little sick.
  • She is extremely sick.
  • He is kind of sick.
  • We are terribly sick.

We can also replace the "be verb" with the verb "feel".

  • I feel sick.
  • She feels sick.
  • He feels very sick.
  • I feel kind of sick.

2. I am sick as a dog.

This is a common expression that means "very sick".

3. I have a cold.

We can use this simple sentence to tell what kind of illness we have.

We can use it with other illnesses and symptoms.

  • I have a fever.
  • I have the flu.
  • I have a stomachache.
  • I have a headache.

4. I'm under the weather.

This is a common idiom. It simply means, "I am sick."

5. I am ill.

The word "ill" has the same meaning as "sick". However, "sick" is used much more often than the word "ill".

6. I feel terrible.

This expression can have two meanings.

We can use it to show that we are sick.

  • I feel terrible. I think I have the flu.

Or we can use it to show that we feel sorry or bad like when we regret something.

  • I forgot her birthday. I feel terrible.

7. I have come down with something.

We use the phrase "come down with" to say that we have become sick. We use the word "something" when we are not sure what illness we have.

If we know, then we can replace "something" with the name of the illness.

  • I have come down with a cold.
  • I have come down with the stomach flu.

It is common to use "I think..." with this expression.

  • I think that I have come down with the flu.

8. I'm might be coming down with something.

This is the same as above, but we use this expression when we are not sure yet if we are sick. We use this in the stage before we get really sick, like when we are starting to feel sick but still are not sure.

9. I've caught a cold.

It is common to use the verb "to catch" when talking about becoming sick. It has the same meaning as "I've gotten a cold".

We often use this expression in the present perfect tense.

  • I have caught a cold.
  • I think I have caught the flu.
  • I have caught a bug.

But, we can also use the past tense and it has the same meaning.

  • I caught a cold.
  • I caught the flu last week.

We use this expression a lot when we know where we got sick or who gave us the illness.

  • I caught this cold from you.
  • I think I caught this cold from my nephew.
  • I caught the flu when the man on the bus coughed on me.

10. I caught a bug.

"A bug" is slang for illness or virus. So, this is a casual expression to say that we are sick. "A bug" is not a specific illness. It is just a general word for being sick.

11. I'm not feeling well.

This is a very common expression that native English speakers used when they are sick.

But, we can also use this when we are hungover or we eat too many cookies.

12. I think I am going to be sick.

This expression means that we think that we are going to throw up or vomit. We only use this when we are talking about vomiting.

We can use the following expressions when we think that we are becoming sick.

  • I think I am getting sick.
  • I might be getting sick.

Use this article to expand your English vocabulary and help you take your English skills to the next level. There are certain situations when the language that you learned in this English lesson can be very useful. Try to use one of these phrases or expressions the next time you speak English. The more English expressions and idioms that you know, the easier it will be for you when you have a conversation in English.


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