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suffering vs sufferings Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 11:33:43 PM
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Joined: 7/4/2012
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suffering, sufferings.

What is the difference in meaning or usage?

Posted: Monday, March 6, 2017 1:45:53 AM

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Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India
See the meanings of Suffering. If plural is used, it is for the meaning as a noun. Else, it's a verb.


कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन। मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥
Posted: Monday, March 6, 2017 3:17:08 AM
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Generally, uncountable nouns do not generally take a plural form. However, sometimes they may be pluralized when used in a countable sense. The word "suffering" can be used as an adjective and also as a noun. The noun "suffering" is used as a mass noun (i.e. uncountable noun). The noun "sufferings" is used as a countable noun in the countable sense.

Here is how Oxford Dictionary explains the meaning (

mass noun: The state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.
- ‘weapons that cause unnecessary suffering’

count noun:
‘his disregard for the sufferings of his fellow countrymen’

When the word "suffering" is used as a non-countable noun, it conveys the meaning "pain that is caused by injury, illness, loss, etc. It has the sense of "physical, mental, or emotional pain".

- He spent his life to find ways ways to alleviate human suffering.
- After months of suffering, his death was a mercy.
- They hope that these new drugs will help to bring an end to the suffering of arthritis patients.
- His lawsuit against the State seeks damages for pain and suffering.

The plural form "sufferings" conveys the sense of "feelings of pain and unhappiness". The plural form has a countable sense. Some examples are:

- The prince was greatly saddened when he saw the sufferings of the slaves.
- The priest worked hard to ease the sufferings of the dying.
- If he passively accepts all the sufferings, evil spirits will have a good opportunity to make him suffer from his sufferings.

Peter O'Connor - Dundalk
Posted: Monday, March 6, 2017 7:04:46 AM

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Location: Lismore, Munster, Ireland
"suffering, sufferings." - Sureshot is right - technically, but here in Ireland it's interchangeable unless it's clearly plural.
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