ache / pain / hurt 疼痛
An ache is discomfort that continues for some time. It is usually associated with a specific part of the body, such asa headache, a stomachache, a toothache, and an earache. After you exercise, the next day your muscles will probably ache. An ache is usually not extremely strong, so you can try to ignore it.
Painis usually stronger, more sudden, and more difficult to ignore. You would feel pain when you cut yourself or hit your head on something. If you exercise and you injure yourself – break a bone or tear a muscle – you would feel a sudden pain.
We also have the expression 「aches and pains,」 which describes general and various physical discomforts. Your 90-year-old grandfather might complain about all the 「aches and pains」 he has at his age!
Hurt is a little different because it is usually used as an adjective or verb, not a noun.
To describe an ache or a pain, you could say:
· My ankle hurts. = I have a pain/ache in my ankle.
· My neck hurts. = I have a pain/ache in my neck.
· My shoulders hurt. = I have a pain/ache in my shoulders.
Hurt is also used to mean 「injure」:
· Don』t play with that knife – you could hurt yourself.
· He was badly hurt in the car accident.
Finally, all three of these words can be used to refer to emotional pain as well as physical pain:
· My son is in prison; the situation is causing me a lot of heartache. (heartache = emotional anguish)
· It took her years to move past the pain of her divorce. (pain = emotional injury)
· I was extremely hurt that he didn』t invite me to his wedding. (hurt = upset, sad)
actual / current / present 現行的 目前的 實際的
Actual is very different from current and present.
Current and present refer to things happening now (not in the past or future).
Actual refers to things that are true(not things that are false).
· The current unemployment rate is 8%. = the rate now
· This article claims that unemployment is at 5%, but the actual rate is around 8%. = the correct rate
· Barack Obama is currently the president of the United States. = he is the president now
· The language spoken in Brazil is actually Portuguese, not Spanish. = 「actually」 is used to make a correction. Portuguese is the true language spoken in Brazil
Now, what about current and present? These two words are usually the same. Sometimes, current is used in the sense of "generally now" and present is often used more in the sense of "immediately now, in this place/moment."
· My girlfriend currently lives in New York, but she』s in Los Angeles at present. = in general, she is in New York, but at this very moment, she is in Los Angeles.
· The current situation is good, but the present case is an emergency. = in general the situation is good nowadays, but right now we have an emergency
At present always means "now." But there can be some confusion with the word presently, which can mean "now" or "very soon."
· He will be here presently. = He will be here very soon.
· She is presently working on a new project. = She is working on a new project right now.
You can know which meaning it has by the verbs: if presently is used with "will," then it means "very soon in the future." If presently is used with "is/are" or other verbs in the present tense, then it means "now."
a / an / one
Use one when the number is important; when you want to emphasize that it is only one(and not two or three or more):
· One of these eggs is rotten, but the others are OK.
· I wanted to buy three CDs, but I didn』t have enough money, so I bought only one.
In all other cases, when the fact of being 「one」 is not important, use a / an:
· I had an omelet for breakfast.
· I bought a new CD yesterday.
What about the difference between a and an? We use an before words beginning with a vowel sound, and a before all other words:
· an apple / a banana
· an ice cream cone / a piece of cake
· an egg / a carrot
· an omelet / a steak
· an umbrella / a uniform (because 「uniform」 is pronounced yuniform)
· an hour / a hat (we use an with hour because the H in hour is silent, but the H in hat is not)
able / capable
The difference between these words is extremely small – but usually we use able to describe current things someone can do, and capable to talk about someone』s future potential. It is not a strict rule, just a general tendency.
· She』s able to play a song perfectly after hearing it only once. (she can currently do this)
· She』s capable of becoming a successful musician. (she has the possibility of doing this in the future)
· This technology has the ability to grow crops in the desert. (it can currently do this)
· This technology has the capability to end world hunger. (it has the possibility of doing this in the future)
The opposite of able is unable, and the opposite of capable is incapable.
· The disease made him unable to move without pain. (he currently cannot move without pain)
· The treatments are incapable of curing the disease. (there is no possibility of curing the disease with the treatments)
Note that we say able to, but capable of:
· The martial artist is able to break a concrete block with his bare hands.
· Good thing he』s very calm – I don』t think he』s capable of violence.