DAMAGE AND DAMAGES – How an extra alphabet (s) makes a big difference!

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When we just read the two words “damage” and “damages”, it does not strike much to our minds how an extra alphabet (s) makes a big difference while studying and understanding the concepts laid down in our law text books. Most of us will make the mistake of using the two words without giving much thought to the difference in the meanings of the said words. Here, it is very important first to have our basics clear by knowing and understanding the meanings of two words;


Mr. X and Mr. Y were driving their cars in the same direction. Mr. X happened to overtake Mr. Y’s car from the wrong side which caused Mr. Y’s car to lose control and he hit a tree on the roadside and as a result Mr. Y suffered injury in his hand and damage to his car.

Mr. Y then sued Mr. X for damages.


The word “damage” means and implies any physical damage such as physical injury, loss, damage to property etc.

In the above mentioned illustration, the words in bold mean and imply “damage” i.e. the physical injury, loss or damage to the car.


The word “damages” simply means and implies compensation.

Similarly, in the above mentioned illustration, the words in bold and italics mean and imply “damages” i.e. compensation. In simple words, relief in terms of money.

In legal sense, that which gives rise to the cause of action is “damage” and the relief so claimed in terms of compensation is known as “damages”.

For instance, the subject LAW OF TORTS basically involves the use of these two words the most. Hence, it becomes very pertinent not to get confused between the usages of these two words which thereby plays a vital role in acquiring a strong base for further learning.



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