General Vocabulary English

Medical Environment | Taking the medical history | Physical Examination | Tests & Medication


  • General
  • Personal
  • Pain &
  • Principle
  • Past Medical
  • Downloads


Good morning/good afternoon/good evening/hello.... 
My name is ... 
I’m a doctor working in ... 
I’m a medical student from ... 
I’d like to ask you some questions and examine you – is that all right? 
Please tell me if you don’t understand something or would like to ask a question. 
Could you please repeat that? I’m sorry, I missed what you said. 



What’s your name? What are you called? 
How old are you?
 Where were you born? 
Are you married or single? 
Do you have children? 
Where do you live? In a house or a flat? 
Which floor? Is there a lift?
Do you live alone? Who lives at home with you? 
What is your work/job? What do you do for a living? 
Does that involve any hazards? 
Do you travel much? Have you been abroad recently? 



Do you have any pain? 
Can you describe it for me? 
Time of onset: 
When did it start? 
How long has it been there? 
Precipitating factors:
Did anything bring it on? 
Site and radiation: 
Where exactly do you feel pain?
Show me with your finger. 
Is it painful if I press here?
Where does it spread? 
How bad is it?
 Is it the worst pain you’ve ever had? 
Tell me how bad it is on a scale of one to ten, with 1 being no pain and 10 the worst pain you've ever had
What does it feel like? 
- sharp?
- stabbing?
- shooting?
- dull?
- crushing? 
- aching? 
- throbbing? 
- cramping? 
- gnawing? 
Associated features   
Have you noticed anything with it?
Feeling sick?
Feeling faint?
Feeling full all the time?
Alleviating and aggravating factors  
Does anything make it better/go away? 
Does anything make it worse?
Taking a deep breath?
While Swallowing? 
While walking? 
Is it continuous or does it come and go? 
How long did it last? 
Previous episodes:  
Have you had this pain before?
What was it due to then? 
Other Symptoms  
Use the same framework as above to determine precipitating factors, time course, severity, etc.



What brings you here today? 
What can I do for you?
Tell me what’s wrong / what the matter is. 
What’s your main problem/complaint? 
General Questions  
How have you been feeling in general? 
Have you been generally unwell? 
Do you feel tired? 
Do you sleep well? 
Do you have a fever/temperature?
Have you been sweating? 
Do you sweat at night? 
How is your appetite? 
What are your eating habits? 
Have you lost your appetite? 
Is your weight steady? Did you gain weight? Did you lose weight? 



Past medical history (PMH)  
Have you any illnesses/medical conditions/diseases? 
Are you under the care of a doctor? 
Have you been in hospital before? 
- diabetes 
- high blood pressure 
- heart disease 
- jaundice 
- tuberculosis 
- epilepsy 
Family history (FH)  
Are your parents still alive? What did they die of? How old were they? 
Are there any diseases in your family/that run in your family? 
For example: heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, asthma or other lung diseases?
Are your children healthy? 
Drug history (medications)  
Do you take any regular medications? 
What are they for? How long have you taken them? 
Do you take the contraceptive pill? 
Do you take any over-the-counter or alternative medicines? 
Do you take any natural medicine?
Do you drink alcohol? 
How many per day?
Have you ever been told to cut your alcohol intake/drink less? 
Have you had any problems at work or home because of drinking alcohol? 
Do you smoke? How many cigarettes/cigars/pipefuls per day? 
How many years have you smoked? 
One pack-year = 20 cigarettes per day for 1 year (so 60 cigarettes/day for 10 years = 30 pack-years) 
Have you tried to stop? 
Do you use or have you used any ‘recreational’ drugs, not prescribed by the doctor? For example cannabis, heroin, cocaine ... 
Are you allergic to any tablets or medications, such as penicillin? 
Have you ever had a bad allergic reaction? 
Are you allergic to anything else, such as: 
- animals 
- house dust 
- pollen 
- insect stings or bites 
- foods 
Does anyone in your family have allergies? 
And don’t forget!  
Thanks for all that. 
Is there anything I forgot to ask you? 
Is there anything else you’d like to tell me?


Note: The vocabulary tables are provided as Excel Excel files. Each of them contains several spreadsheets according to the structure used on the website.

Download tables "Taking the medical history":
English - French English - French
English - German English - German
English - Spanish English - Spanish
English-Catalan English - Catalan
English - Italian
English - Norwegian English - Norwegian
English-Swedish English - Swedish
English - Polish English - Polish
English-Portuguese English - Portuguese
English-Slovenian English - Slovenian




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