Italian people have some difficulties in usage of the word "interchange" and the phrase "each other".

When I wrote that sentence some doubts arose to my mind in reference to the highlighted words "in usage".

I excluded that it was possible to write "to use", but I don't know why. Afterwards I thought that I could have written "in using", but, after some thoughts, I excluded this option, too; then I decided to write "in usage", even when some uncertainty remained.

Could anybody enlighten me on this problem? Is there some suggestion that might help incompetent speakers, as I am, in cases like this?

  • 4
    Uncompetent is an obsolete word that is not standard in modern English. Incompetent is a common word, but I wouldn't use it to describe you.
    – user230
    Mar 1, 2013 at 19:13
  • @snail, thank you in all senses. I love to hear your words. (PS: I edited the question :)
    – user114
    Mar 1, 2013 at 19:17
  • "I excluded that..." as used above does not seem right. Maybe you meant "I concluded that..."?
    – user485
    Mar 1, 2013 at 23:47

2 Answers 2


I would write:

Italian people have some difficulties with using the word "interchange" and the phrase "each other".

To have difficulty with something is a common phrase to describe someone who has trouble doing something. I wouldn't say "have difficulties in."

If you wanted to use "usage" instead of using, you could write it this way, though it sounds a bit more formal:

Italian people have some difficulties with the usage of the word "interchange" and the phrase "each other".

You can either have difficulty using something, or have difficulty with the usage of something. I'm sure there are also other acceptable variants of the sentence, but I think this covers the possibilities you've mentioned!

  • @snailplane LOL I was rereading my answer and just caught and edited that as you commented!
    – WendiKidd
    Mar 1, 2013 at 19:16
  • @snailplane Thanks ;) That's what I get for copy-pasting the sentence! ;)
    – WendiKidd
    Mar 1, 2013 at 19:17

I'd say "None of the above". To me, the most natural (KISS) phrasing is:

Italians have [some] difficulty using the word "interchange" and the phrase "each other".

Apart from it being unnecessary verbosity, I think using people there sounds decidely "odd". For the record, Italians have difficulty - 247 hits in Google Books, but Italian people have difficulty - no hits at all.

I personally wouldn't include the word some, because idiomatically native speakers very often use some semi-facetiously to mean a great deal of in such contexts, but that's probably not OP's intended sense. It's actually more likely that what's intended is Some Italians have difficulty...

Arguably some might say plural difficulties implies Italians face more than one different "kind" of difficulty using the terms. But even if that were so I wouldn't bother trying to make such a fine distinction.

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