Damage and harm

Posted by ESC on October 11, 2003

In Reply to: Damage and harm posted by sphinx on October 11, 2003

: "He wanted to start painting again, but long years of hard work had damaged his hands."

: Why we cannot use harm here? Thanks!

You could use "harmed." But it seems to me that "harmed" implies a human agent, damage done on purpose by someone.

Merriam-Webster online:

Main Entry: 1harm
Pronunciation: 'härm
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hearm; akin to Old High German harm injury, Old Church Slavonic sramu shame
Date: before 12th century
1 : physical or mental damage : INJURY

Main Entry: 2damage
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): dam.aged; dam.ag.ing
Date: 14th century
: to cause damage to
synonym see INJURE
- dam.age.abil.i.ty /"da-mi-j&-'bi-l&-tE/ noun
- dam.ag.er noun