Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Ugh, I hurt myself.
Hi, everybody. Welcome back to "Know Your Verbs." My name is Alisha. And, in this episode, we're going to talk about the verb "hurt." Let's get started.
Okay. Let's start with the basic definition. The basic definition of the verb "hurt" is to cause someone physical pain. Examples, "I hurt my arm when I ran into the door," "Don't those shoes hurt your feet?"
Now, let's look at the conjugations for this verb. Present, hurt, hurts, Past, hurt, Past participle, hurt, Progressive, hurting.
Now, let's talk about some additional meanings for this verb. The first additional meaning is to cause emotional pain. Examples, "You hurt my feelings," "Don't hurt the people you love."
So, here, we see "hurt" used to refer to emotions. This doesn't refer to like physical pain. It refers to emotional pain, like mental pain. In the first example sentence, we see a very common expression, "You hurt my feelings." "You hurt my feelings," means you said something or you did something that made me feel like sad or emotionally upset. We use the expression, "You hurt my feelings," to talk about that, to express that very generally. It's something that even children use. It's a very kind of general way to say like, “You upset me,” or “You made me feel upset,” or emotionally bad. So, this does not refer to anything physical.
In the second example sentence, "hurt" is also used to refer to emotions, not to physical things. I suppose you could also use this expression like, "Don't hurt the people you love," to mean don't physically hurt them. But, it probably it's more commonly used to mean don't emotionally hurt, don't emotionally harm the people you love. In other words, be kind to people. So, don't try to cause emotional pain to people.
The second additional meaning for this verb is to cause difficulty or damage. Some examples, "The scandal hurt his chances for reelection," "A product recall hurt the company's performance." So, in these examples, we don't see physical pain or emotional pain. Here, "hurt" is used to talk about damage or difficulty. In the first example sentence, it's a politician in the situation. "The scandal hurt his chances for reelection." In other words, a scandal damaged the politician's chances for reelection. So, something happened and it made reelection difficult.
So, we use "hurt" to talk about that. In the second example sentence, "A product recall hurt the company's performance." So, a product recall damaged or made the company's performance difficult. It made the situation more difficult. We use "hurt" to talk about that. So, "hurt" can be used to describe just a difficulty or some kind of damage, like to a more conceptual thing. Like, someone's chances. To hurt someone's chances, to hurt someone's performance, to hurt someone's ability. These conceptual things, they are not related to physical pain or emotional pain but to a situation.
Okay. Let's move along to a variation in use of the word "hurt." This variation is, "It can't," or "It couldn't hurt to," do something. So, this expression means it won't cause a problem to do something. Let's look at some examples. "It can't hurt to send her a message to say hello," "It couldn't hurt to try a new recipe once in a while." So, we tend to use this expression, "it can't hurt" or "it couldn't hurt to," when we're maybe talking about a situation, where there's a small problem, or there's someone is looking for advice or someone's looking for suggestions.
In the first example sentence, "It can't hurt to send her a message to say hello," is like maybe it's someone we haven't heard from in a while, or someone who's sick or not feeling well, or we just haven't spoken to them, but we're maybe discussing this person in this situation. And so, someone might suggest, "Well, it can't hurt…" In other words, it won't cause a problem if you just send her a message and say hello. So, why not? In other words, it can't hurt to do that. We always use the negative, "it can't hurt." You might also hear, "it won't hurt," too. But, usually, "it can't hurt" or "it couldn't hurt."
In the second example sentence, we see "it couldn't." So, "It couldn't hurt to try a new recipe once in a while." In other words, like why don't you? Like, it's not a problem. It won't be a problem. Here, we see "couldn't," meaning it could not be a problem. So, there's like no chance that it would cause a problem if you try a new recipe once in a while. So, it's like a suggestion. It's kind of a strange way to phrase that. But, "it couldn't hurt to do this," "it couldn't hurt to do that." It's like, why not? It's kind of a way of giving a suggestion. Suggesting that if you do this thing, it'll be no problem. So, give it a try. You might hear this for suggestions and advice.
Okay. So, I hope that you found a new way of using the verb "hurt." Of course, if you have any questions, or comments, or want to try making a sentence with this verb, please feel free to do so in the comment section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this episode of "Know Your Verbs," and we'll see you again soon. Bye.