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I don't think the following sentence is grammatically correct:

Laziness is a problem with many students.

Wouldn't it better to say:

Laziness is a problem for many students.

or perhaps,

Laziness is a problem among students.

It just sounds 'off' to use 'with' for me.

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  • "Laziness is a problem with many students" could also suggest that the problem of laziness only exists when there are a lot of students, which is probably not what is meant
    – Smock
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 10:16

1 Answer 1

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A problem with would suggest that the subject is the source of the problem.

A problem for means that the subject has to deal with the problem.

So in case of laziness, it is a problem that students have to overcome, so it is a problem for them.

Laziness is a problem for many students.

Many students have problems with laziness.

General rule:

What is a problem for who?

Who has a problem with what?

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  • Thanks for the clarification; could you illustrate one example for the 'with' case? I couldn't really tell.
    – The One
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 9:24
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    I have a problem with drugs. Drugs are a problem for me.
    – TK-421
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 9:39

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