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The word damage is non-count and its plural turns into a different definition (court-awarded money). Am I incorrect in thinking that damages can also be used to indicate various types/kinds of damage? As in food and world foods, wine and world wines; I have seen such use of damages, albeit rare.

I have seen "natural disaster damages", "natural resource damages" on the EPA site. This seems natural to me. But a friend of mine is obstinately insisting that "damages" means exclusively legal compensation.

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If you could provide a link to the source, it would help. –  Kris Oct 17 '12 at 7:13

2 Answers 2

Damage and damages are different meanings of the same word:

damage |ˈdamij| noun 1 physical harm caused to something in such a way as to impair its value, usefulness, or normal function. • unwelcome and detrimental effects : the damage to his reputation was considerable. 2 (damages) a sum of money claimed or awarded in compensation for a loss or an injury : she was awarded $284,000 in damages. [NOAD]

So when you say damages (meaning the noun) you are talking about money.

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Ah I didn't know it was the same in English. We kind of have the same "noun-structure" in italian: Danno-Danni. (although danni can simply be danno made plural, so you have to understand that from the context.) –  Alenanno Jun 9 '11 at 10:05
    
@All Thank you for your comment. @Robusto I do understand that they are two different words. My question, perhaps ambiguously stated, has to do whether or not the plural form of damage exists to mean different types of physical harm (my friend pulls an Oxford on me and say no) :-) –  Ky-Anh Phan Jun 13 '11 at 16:26

Simchona's friend is correct. Damage denotes inflicted, adversely destructive or deteriorative change to (mainly chattel) property in any amount or enumeration. Damages connotes a prospective legal claim for compensation of loss suffered in the form of property damage, as denoted, injury, monetary loss, and tortious victimization. "Damages" is exclusively a jurisprudential construct. Damage, per se, is both a singular and collective plural form.

In court one would say, "she is seeking damages for her broken leg"; or alternatively, "damages for repair of her car and replacing the new lamp damaged inside.

On the street one would say, she hopes insurance will pay her medical expenses as well as for damage to her car and new lamp.

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