When you find or encounter some situation (especially bad ones like difficulty or obstacle), which do you say?

I face some problem


I'm faced with some problem


  • It sounds strange to say "some problem", where problem is singular, because it almost sounds like you don't know what the problem is. More fluent would be "a problem" if there is just one, or "some problems" if there is a collection of different problems. – stangdon Jul 30 '18 at 14:10
  • @stangdon I think it could be a regional usage, trying to soften the "problem" difficulty or severity, especially if you have to explain it to an affected individual such as a customer or your boss. It would be like "It is somewhat of a problem." – user3169 Jul 31 '18 at 3:15

Both are possible because of the meaning of the verb "face".

If John and Mary are looking at each other you could (in theory) say:

John faces Mary.
Mary faces John
John is faced by Mary

Because the situation is symmetric they all mean roughly the same. However the subject, or passive subject (John in (1), Mary in (2) and (3)) is the one who is taking control. So if, instead of Mary, we look at your example:

I face the problem. (means that I am actively choosing to engage with the problem)
I am faced by the problem. (means that the problem is in front of me, but and can't be avoided)

When we reached the glacier, we were faced by the problem of crossing the crevasses.

If you don't face the problem of moneyflow soon you will go bust.

  • There's an accidnetally doubled conjunction (but and) in the second quote block. – Smartybartfast Jul 30 '18 at 8:16
  • I disagree with the usage notes. They are artifically distinguished. If I didn't engage in a particular activity, there would be no problem to face to to be faced by. If the problem I face could be avoided, it wouldn't be a problem; it is just as unavoidable as the problem by which I am faced. – Smartybartfast Jul 30 '18 at 8:16
  • Feel free to edit – James K Jul 30 '18 at 8:19

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