I found a sentence like below in my grammar book.

"Did you have problems finding our house?"

Don't you think there is supposed to be a preposition before "finding" ?

Like "Did you have any problems with finding our house?" or "Did you have any problems about finding our house?"


2 Answers 2


Idiomatically, there is no preposition there, and your grammar book is correct. We say "problems verb-ing" or "trouble verb-ing" much more than we use with or in or about or anything else, although those constructions are used sometimes too.

You can think of "problems finding our house" as "problems while in the process of finding our house". "Problems with finding our house" is perfectly understandable, but less idiomatic. "Problems about finding our house" doesn't quite make sense - about usually means something like "regarding the subject of"; you might say "Here is a math problem about calculating sales taxes", but "problems about finding our house" sounds like puzzles that you have to solve to find our house.

  • 1
    This is interesting. Other words that work this way are experience, challenge, success; but not question, concern or solution. I think the criterion is that the word refers to the experience (not just one aspect of it), and the participle clause specifies what the experience was. Problem at first sight appears to be an aspect of the experience, not the experience itself; but in fact we use it to mean the whole experience: "Finding the house was a problem".
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 15:02
  • So, if I say "I have some problems speaking fluently" , it will be grammatically correct. Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 15:05
  • @NevzatDoğukanErbek Correct!
    – stangdon
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 15:56

The sentence

"Did you have problems finding our house?"

is valid with or without a preposition, just as this is valid:

"Did you have (any) problems eating at that restaraunt?"

I think using a prepositon with either example would sound verbose.

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