HomeQ&AIs it more correct to say Tengo dolor de estómago or tengo dolor del estómago?

Is it more correct to say Tengo dolor de estómago or tengo dolor del estómago?


I am getting conflicting information as to whether or not to put the definite article after "dolor de" when referring to having pain in any part of the body. I find I can say "tengo dolor de cabeza or tengo dolor de la cabeza, or tengo dolor de estómago or tengo dolor del estómago". Do I really have a choice? Also, I'm told I should always use the definite article when saying "Me duele la cabeza (or any other part of the body), yet once again, I find that's not always the case and the definite article is not always used. Is this a mistake? What's correct? What do native speakers normally use in everyday speech?

updated SEP 24, 2011
posted by AnnB
Welcome to the forum:-) - 00494d19, MAY 16, 2010

5 Answers


Ken and Ann are right, no article needed:

Tengo dolor de estómago, de muelas, de cabeza...

updated SEP 24, 2011
posted by 00494d19

I know this answer comes late, but reviewing some material that I will be teaching in Spanish class this week I came across this question. Here are my thoughts: in Spanish, to express pain you use generally two expressions:

"Me duele + xxxxx" or

"Tengo dolor de + xxx"

In the first instance, you always say the noun with the article

"Me duele la cabeza" (if the noun is in plural : Me duelen los pies)

In the second sentence, you never use the article

Tengo dolor de pies Tengo dolor de espalda Tengo dolor de cabeza

(the reason is the expression itself: Tengo dolor de + noun)

I hope it helps

updated SEP 24, 2011
posted by m2bcn
Welcome to SpanishDict. :) - SpanishPal, SEP 24, 2011
Thanks, better late than never. I definitely will do it this way! - AnnB, SEP 24, 2011

I'd say "tengo un dolor de estomago"

If you want to creep round this problem try: "me duele el estomago" lol.

updated SEP 24, 2011
edited by geofc
posted by geofc
Good solution. - Delores--Lindsey, MAY 16, 2010
Thanks, I was leaning towards this solution - - AnnB, MAY 16, 2010

,I cannot say with certainty if it is correct, but when I use "Tengo un dolor de...," I don't use the article.

Tengo un dolor de cabeza.

When I use, "Me duele..." I use the article.

Me duele la cabeza. smile

updated SEP 24, 2011
posted by Delores--Lindsey

It is tengo dolor del estómago because it is masculine and you need to conract de and el. and for a femenine noun(body part) you say de la e.g. tengo dolor de la espalda.

updated MAY 16, 2010
posted by kenwilliams
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