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When is it most appropriate to use без боли vs. безболезненно, and why?

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  • The difference is roughly the same as in "without pain" vs. "painlessly". – Sergey Kalinichenko Jun 22 '13 at 14:18
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безболезненно and без боли have a similar meaning "painless". без боли is rarely used, usually with an infinitive or a noun in a header or a slogan:

  • Стоматология без боли
  • Как жить без боли
  • Любовь без боли

In these cases безболезненно can't be used. It requires a verb that means a short-term action. For example, you can't live безболезненно, but you can die.

безболезненно is common to describe a short-term painless action:

  • безболезненно удалить зуб
  • безболезненно умереть

без боли can be used in this case, but it will sound strange.

безболезненно has another meaning "smooth, trouble-free":

  • бесболезненно развестись
  • реформа прошла безболезненно

без боли can't be used in this case (but you can use без головной боли in a figurative meaning).

без боли also can be used as a form of боль:

  • расстаться без боли и сожаления

In this case безболезненно can't be used.

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  • I think the last case can be used with "безболезненно" - for example, "расстаться безболезненно и без сожаления". – orlenko Jun 23 '13 at 7:32
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    another meaning would be "without consequences", for example "какой из пунктов сметы мы могли бы безболезненно вычеркнуть?" ("what position in the cost estimate could we strike out without consequences?"). – Alexander Galkin Jun 23 '13 at 21:04

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