Daños doesn’t equal damages and the difference between damage and damages

Most of the time, daños means “damage”, in singular. What, then, is “damages” in Spanish? Normally, something like indemnizaciones por daños y perjuicios, literally, “compensation for loss and damage”, which is what “damages” means in English. So:

  • daño/s = damage
  • indemnizaciones por daños y perjuicios = “damages” or “compensation for loss and damage” but not “compensation for loss and damages

Definition of damage and damages

Note that the adjective of “damages” can be singular or plural (number 3).

  1. damages, n. pl. Money claimed by, or ordered to be paid to, a person as compensation for loss or injury “the plaintiff seeks $8,000 in damages from the defendant”. — damage,adj.
  2. damage, n. Loss or injury to person or property “actionable damage resulting from negligence”.
  3. damage, adj. Of or relating to monetary compensation for loss or injury to a person or property “a damage claim”, “a damage award”. — Also termed damages “a damages claim”.

Source: Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th edition (West Group, 2004), Bryan A. Garner (ed.)

Examples in English

For some useful examples on the difference between “damage” and “damages”, see this page.

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Written by Rob Lunn

Rob Lunn is a freelance translator based in Spain. He translates from Spanish and Catalan into English and specialises in legal translation.

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