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The slowing development of the real estate sector will hurt/harm the overall economical growth.

"Hurt" to me is often used with somebody or one's feelings. It has connotation of "pain. So I prefer "harm" to "hurt" in this case, what do you think?

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I agree that 'hurt' has a connotation to being in pain or feeling pain. However, I believe damage or disturb can also be used in the context. Overall, the understanding for the sentence is that the situation has an implication towards pain as an effect.

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Both verbs can be used transitively suggesting damage caused to people or things. Referring to the economy, hurt appears to be more widely used. (see Ngram below).

To hurt: : (from TFD)

  • To cause physical damage or pain to; injure.
  • To cause physical damage to; harm: The frost hurt the orange crop.
  • To be detrimental to; hinder or impair: The scandal hurt the candidate's chances for victory.

To harm:

  • to do or cause harm to; injure; damage; hurt: to harm one's reputation.
  • to injure physically, morally, or mentally.

Ngram: harm the economy vs hurt the economy.

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