tl;dr How do I say "You're hurting him"?
Suppose I'm teaching a child how to care for a small pet. If the child holds the pet wrong, I can say "Stop that. You're hurting it". In English, this has two possible meanings:
- "Your action is likely to injure the pet."
- "Your action causes the pet pain."
The first of these two meanings seems to be covered by the Japanese 怪我をさせる and 傷を負わせる. I could not find any way to express the second. How can I do that? Similarly, how would I apologize for having hurt someone, that is for doing something that physically hurt but did not injure?
Here are some possibilities that I have considered and rejected. If one of these is actually correct, I would be grateful if you could correct my understanding of it:
- 痛める - This was my first guess, because of the obvious relation to 痛い. However, after checking several dozen example sentences it seems to only be used for self-inflicted injury, usually accidental ("I hurt my arm", "he broke his leg falling") and damage caused to inanimate objects.
- 傷つける - Another good candidate, but explanations and usage examples indicate that it is limited to hurting someone's feelings, rather than for physical pain.
- 傷を負う and 怪我をする - As mentioned above, only refer to injuries, and not to the sensation of pain by itself.
- 〜すると痛い - This means that an action causes pain to the actor ("It hurts when I do this", or "does it hurt when you do that?").
- やめなさい、痛いんです - Close to what I want, but only applies in the case where you're hurting me. This does not allow for an inversion of roles or a third party.
- This cannot or will not be expressed in Japanese - This seems unlikely, but consider the case in English. The example sentence "You're hurting it" is the natural way to express both possible meanings in common conversation. If I really want to clarify, I might say "You're injuring it" or "You could injure it", although that is not what one would normally say. However, "You're causing it pain" sounds to me so far removed from daily speech, that I would not expect to ever hear it, even when ambiguity is possible.