At the Doctor’s

Using English at the Doctor’s

When discussing illnesses and other issues with a medical professional there are certain words and phrases we need to use.

For non-native speakers, using English at the doctor’s can be a challenging task. Explore the common vocabulary used at the doctor’s and phrases you may hear and need to use.


Vocabulary for the doctor’s surgery

The body:

Head, face, eyes, eye lashes, eye brows, nose, nostrils, ears, lips, mouth, tongue, chin, cheeks, forehead, hair

Neck, shoulders, chest, breasts, back, spine, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers, knuckles, finger nails

body parts vocabulary

Stomach, hips, bottom/backside, thighs, knees, shins, calves, ankles, feet, heels, toes, toe nails

Muscle, tendon, bone, skeleton, vein, artery, brain, heart, liver, kidney, bladder, bowel, lungs, blood, sweat


Describing Pains

Headache, toothache, stomach ache, nausea, sickness, cough, sore throat, diarrhoea, constipation, faintness, shortness of breath, cramp, period pain, tiredness

If you are not sure about vocabulary, use the phrase ‘I have a pain here …’ or ‘It hurts here …’ while pointing to the affected area. This will be enough to explain to a doctor what is wrong.

Phrases you might want to use:

I’d like to see a doctor
I’d like to make an appointment
I’ve got a stomach ache / sore throat / pain here …
I’ve been feeling sick / ill / faint / tired
I’ve been getting headaches / diarrhoea / pains
Do I have to take time off work?
Will I get a sick note?


Phrases you might hear

Do you have an appointment?
Have you got a European health insurance card?
Please take a seat
What seems to be the problem?
What are your symptoms?
Does it hurt?
Let me listen to your chest (using stethoscope)
I’m going to take your blood pressure / temperature / pulse
I’m going to give you an injection
I’m going to prescribe some antibiotics


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