I was wondering what I could do about the problem I'm having with my big right toe.

What's seems to be the problem?

If there is such a contraction, what is it? What has seems or what is seems? Or is it a typo?

  • It's like the author had two ideas & couldn't think which to go with... "What's the problem?" & "What seems to be the problem?" Feb 16, 2015 at 10:01
  • 4
    @pyobum Actually, for an EFL learner, it's not clear that there is a typo. So, you can write a helpful, on-topic answer by explaining how a fluent speaker perceives it as a typo. Also, it might be helpful to explain why a beginner can easily misperceive a contraction in this context and why it's wrong. (I'm actually not convinced that it's a typographical error. It might be a transcription error.)
    – Ben Kovitz
    Feb 16, 2015 at 10:04
  • 1
    The source of your example would be helpful. Was it written or spoken? Locale/dialect might also be an issue. I think it is too hasty to judge it is a typo.
    – user3169
    Feb 16, 2015 at 22:05
  • I don't think any dialects exist in which it's valid as written, so I vote typo.
    – user230
    Feb 17, 2015 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


What's is the contraction form of What is. So to expand your phrase:

What is seems to be the problem?

does not make sense and is not grammatical. You could say:

What seems to be the problem?


What does the problem seem to be?

If it was a spoken phrase, maybe it was misunderstood? Where the " 's " was actually the "s" in seems?

  • What's can also be What has or What does.
    – user230
    Feb 17, 2015 at 15:27

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