Talking about being sick

Hi guys!

It’s been forever since I posted on here, and since I’m super busy this is going to be a short, simple post, I’m afraid.

I wanted to talk about how we describe illnesses in English, because very often it’s quite different than in Japanese!

So I’m going to make a simple chart of common unnatural expressions I see Japanese people make and then the more natural expressions.  I hope this helps!

Unnatural Expressions

Natural Expressions

I (don’t) have (a) sick

I (don’t) have illness

I (don’t) have disease

I (not) sick

I’m (not) sick

I (don’t) feel sick


I feel bad I don’t feel good
I don’t feel bad I’m fine
I become illness

I become disease

I become sick

I get sick

I start feeling sick

I (don’t) sicked

I was(n’t) sicked

I was(n’t) illness

I was(n’t) disease

I was(n’t) sick

I felt sick

I didn’t feel sick

I got sick

I didn’t get sick

I am (not) a cold*

I am (not) having a cold

I catch a cold

I didn’t catch a cold

I am (not) suffering a cold

I have a cold

I don’t have a cold

I was(n’t) a cold

I caught a cold

I didn’t catch a cold

I suffered a cold

I didn’t suffer a cold

I was(n’t) suffering a cold

I had a cold

I didn’t have a cold

I got a cold

Are you cold?

Are you catch a cold?

Are you sick?

Do you have a cold?

  • Be careful with the word “cold”!
    • In Japanese, 風邪 refers to almost any ordinary illness. However, the word “cold” in English refers to a specific illness!  The symptoms 「症状」are:
      • Runny noses 「鼻水」
      • Stuffy noses「花が詰まること」
      • Sneezing 「くしゃみ」and
      • Coughing「せき」
    • If you have a fever「熱」, an upset stomach 「吐きげ」or other symptoms, that is not a cold!  That’s a fever or flu「インフルエンザ」.

I hope this helps.  Let me know if you have any questions!


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