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Here what I'm talking about is 'pain' as a noun, describing something that makes you uncomfortable either physically or mentally.

As far as I know, it is countable when describing physical hurts. Then what about the 'mental' case ? If it's uncountable in that case, can we say 'a piece of pain' in the context that the pain(mentally) may result from different matters or experiences in our life and we want to distinguish them.

Furthermore, if 'a piece of pain' is correct, what is the comparative form of this phrase? 'one piece less of pain'? 'one less piece of pain'?

  • A piece of pain does not work. Ever. You can experience a stab/jab/pang/twinge/prick of pain (and lots of other words), meaning a short, violent burst of pain; but not a piece of pain. Pain is generally speaking not countable in this sense, except that it can be used with an indefinite article (though rarely without an adjective to qualify it). There is no difference here between physical and mental pain: they work the same. If you’re talking about things that cause you pain, you could say, “One thing less to pain you/cause you pain”, but not “*One piece less of pain”. That’s gibberish. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 30 '14 at 9:53
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Even though a person with multiple injuries (an abscess in a tooth, a paper cut on the finger, and a broken leg) may feel a different type of pain resulting from each one, pain is usually not divided, so is not considered to be in divisible into "pieces". A person may be in more pain, or less pain, and the one inflicted with the pain is sometimes asked to rate the pain on a scale to indicate severity, but "a piece of pain" is not a common construct in the US.

  • Nor anywhere so far as I'm aware. It would be a bit odd to hear someone say 'I have three pains, one in my tooth, one in my neck and one in my left knee-cap.' It would be more likely fro them to say something like 'I have pain everywhere, in my tooth, in my neck and in my right knee-cap'. – WS2 Aug 30 '14 at 7:43
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    On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with “I felt a sharp pain in my leg” or “I’ve had a pain in my neck the past three days”—or perhaps even “It just kept on coming, one sharp pain after the other” (though here I would prefer “one sharp stab/jab/pang of pain after the other”). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 30 '14 at 9:48

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