Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you like talking about your problems?

Are you honest with people when you have a problem with how they are acting or what they are doing?

Do you ever wonder how exactly you can talk about problems in general?

There is one word that you will hear used a lot in English to discuss problems–and that word is “issue”.

Though there are multiple uses, today we are going to look at it as it relates to problems.

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Here’s a letter that asks about this very word and its usage.

Hi Lindsay,
I always have some problems with the word “issue”. I’m not quite sure when I can use it.
Have you ever made a podcast about this problem?
Thanks a lot for your answer!
Greetings from cold Switzerland

Everyone Has Issues

The listener talks about having problems with the word issue–and issue can be used to talk about problems!

So this listener could actually say “I have an issue with the word issue!”

This word can be used in more ways than one, but today we are going to focus on how it is used to talk about problems.

It is important to note that the word “issue” itself has multiple uses.

We’re looking at it in a way that addresses or speaks to problems, because that matters in this context.

How Would You Use This Word?

When we look at the word “issue” as it relates to having problems, there are multiple ways to use it.

Consider these so that you can choose the right one to use in the right situation.

Here are some ways you may use this word:

  • “I’ve got issues”: Though this is common, this is kind of a funny way to use this word and it is very general. You use the word in this way to talk about general problems you have or to make fun of yourself. If you say it about someone else, it could be insulting. You could also say ____ has issues with ____. You might say something like “I’ve got issues with taking the train–it’s too expensive and takes too long.” In a humorous way, you might joke around and say “Ahh, I’ve got issues!”
  • To discuss a potential problem or real problemThis could be used in the workplace as well. This most certainly can address actual problems, and you will see it come up frequently. It is usually used in a more stern or even professional way. Remember that tone of voice is everything with this type of word and message! You might say or hear “I don’t have an issue with you leaving early as long as you get your work done.”
  • To talk about “an important topic or problem for debate or discussion.” –This is more of the dictionary definition, but it has a place in this context. It is used in a literal way as issues tend to arise all the time and they must be addressed. You might say something like “Among the things we need to talk about is the issue of being over budget on this project.”

These are all appropriate and common uses for the word “issue”, and as you can see they are all important in their own right.

One Word With Multiple Uses

Again, there are many ways to use this word in addition to what we have talked about, but we wanted to focus on this way today.

It was important to focus on this particular use of the word “issue” because it is a common way to use it.

This particular use for the word can be pretty broad, and this can all be helpful in connection.

This also gives you a new way to talk about problems, and that’s the type of thing that comes up more than you might think.

If you can think of it in this context as it relates to problems, then you can find some great and common ways to use it in conversation.


This is a great word and shows the nuances of English.

Experiment with using this word to talk about problematic situations.

It can connect you to others and make your language more interesting.

It can also help you to master using a very common word in English when you try using it in conversations.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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