Talking about health problems

If you become ill or have an accident, the phrases given in this section will allow you to talk to your doctor.

Describing the problem

If you are ill, use I’ve got…

I’ve got a headache.

I’ve got malaria.

I’ve got a temperature.

I’ve got a cold.

To say that a particular part of your body hurts, use my …hurts.

My back hurts.

My neck hurts.

My leg hurts.

With some body parts, the word ache is more common.

I’ve got a headache.

She’s got toothache.

He’s got backache.

Use I feel to talk about general health problems that you might be experiencing.

I feel tired. I think I should get some rest.

I don’t feel very well.

I feel much better after taking that tablet.

Saying what happened

In the event of an accident, you will have to explain what happened.

Use a past tense in this situation.

I burnt my finger.

I hit my head against the wall.

I fell off the ladder.

She fell down the stairs.

If you have difficulty doing something, use I can’t…

I can’t walk without support.

I can’t breathe properly.

I can’t lift my arm.

I can’t bend my knee.

If you have broken a bone, use I’ve broken …

I fell off the ladder and broke my leg.

I’ve broken my leg.

She’s broken a tooth.


Note that you can say ‘I broke my leg’. But you can’t say ‘I broke the leg.’

She has injured her toes. (NOT She has injured the toes.)