Is the sentence 'She never caused hassle' correct? If so, does it sound unnatural? 'She never caused any hassle' seems like a much more common choice and I do not know if the rarity of the former (in terms of Google search results) comes from it being incorrect.

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    To some extent, the syntax of hassle is still evolving. I think it first appeared around a century ago as a verb, but it was several decades before the noun usage arose. This isn't really a matter of "grammar". It''s just that many native speakers still haven't figured out exactly how the word should be used (not least because many native speakers would rarely or never use it anyway, purely on the grounds of it being "slangy"). For some reason that's not obvious to me, I like your specific example better if we include a quantifier: She never caused any hassle. Apr 9, 2021 at 17:10
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    See this NGram showing that cause any hassle now appears to be more common than the unqualified version cause hassle. That's very different to the near-synonymous pair cause trouble and cause any trouble. Apr 9, 2021 at 17:16
  • Interesting input, thank you! @FumbleFingers - while the NGram shows that cause hassle is in fact used, I wonder if it is not used (almost) exclusively in non-negated form, 'She caused hassle'. While normally I would write '(not) cause any hassle', in this case it doesn't fit my syllabe count unfortunately. The question stems from the fact that, for non-natives, it is common to be aware of only one meaning/use of a word (either most common or one peculiar to topics of interest for the student), giving a false impression of it being the only acceptable form.
    – Turin
    Apr 10, 2021 at 2:22
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    My advice is simply to avoid using hassle at all (or at least, avoid the noun sense, which is what I usually do myself). Especially if you're in some context where "syllable count" is relevant, since that sounds like it would either be a "formal" context (in which case you don't really want "slangy" words like this) or a "poetic" context (in which case you probably shouldn't be using any words for which you don't completely understand the semantics and syntax). Apr 10, 2021 at 11:45
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    ...to my mind, the verb to hassle has the fairly precise meaning to continually pester someone with tiresome / trivial requests, but increasingly these days I see the noun form used with the far more general sense of "disruption, inconvenience", howsoever caused. Consequently for me at least, the noun usage often triggers a mild form of "cognitive dissonance" as I struggle to accept that my understanding of the words isn't necessarily the same as someone else I've just read or heard using it. Apr 10, 2021 at 11:51


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