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What to do About “Injuries”

Injuries are part of life, especially for the athletes among we the weekend warriors, Olympians or otherwise. Injuries also often are the object of a sentence, and we often don’t seem to know what verb to use with it.

The most common choices I see are sustain, receive and suffer. One is clearly incorrect, one could be correct, and one is clearly correct.

Writers and speakers who use sustain are misusing the word. In my dictionary, sustain has numerous definitions, including definition 6b: to suffer. However, to sustain an injury means to support it, nourish it and prolong it. Can you imagine anyone wanting to sustain an injury?

Receive  infers that, in this case, someone gave you the injury that you received. You could receive an injury, but the word isn’t the best choice because it’s too neutral a word to use for something that usually hurts a great deal.

So, go with suffer. When the word is a definition for another word (e.g. sustain), that’s a pretty good indication it’s the right word to use. Besides, suffer means “to submit to or be forced to bear” and “to feel keenly.”

I hope this post didn’t cause anyone to suffer.

Until next time! Use the right words!





August 1, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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