Word Choice: Pain vs. Pane
  • 2-minute read
  • 7th November 2021

Word Choice: Pain vs. Pane

“Pain” and “pane” sound the same but have different meanings. In this post, we will explain the difference so you’ll always know which one to use in your writing.

Pain (An Unpleasant Sensation)

“Pain” is usually a noun that refers to an undesirable physical or mental feeling:

He had a pain in his left knee.

After the accident, she was in a lot of pain.

You should never ignore chest pains.

Her unkind words caused me great pain.

Sometimes, “pain” can also refer to a person or a thing that causes annoyance:

We’ve run out of milk. What a pain!

My little brother is being a pain today.

The same word appears in the idioms “at pains” and “go to great pains,” which both mean “try really hard to do (or not do) something”:

He went to great pains to make the guests feel comfortable.

She was at pains to avoid offending anyone.

You can also use the word “pain” as a verb, which means – not surprisingly – to cause pain or upset. For example:

It pains me to admit it, but you were right.

The wound still pained him years later.

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Whether used as a noun or a verb, though, the correct spelling is “pain.”

Pane (A Sheet of Glass)

“Pane” is always a noun and refers to a sheet of glass in a door or a window:

The doorbell was broken, so I tapped on the pane.

Six of the window panes had been smashed.

If you’re referring to a piece of glass, then, the correct spelling is “pane.”

Summary: Pain or Pane?

When you want to use either of these words in your writing, remember:

  • Pain can be a noun that refers to an unpleasant feeling (either physical or emotional) or a verb that means “cause pain or discomfort.”
  • Pane is always a noun, and refers to a sheet of glass.

When somebody is experiencing pain, we might describe them as being “in pain.” So if you are referring to physical or mental suffering, keep in mind that this kind of pain contains the word in, and this should help you spell it the right way every time.

Homophones can be a pain, but they’re nothing compared to having errors in your writing. If you’d like to have your writing checked by an expert, submit a sample document today and we’ll proofread it for free.

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