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?" – gone fishin' again. Feb 16 '15 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 '15 at 10:04
  • 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 '15 at 22:05
  • I don't think any dialects exist in which it's valid as written, so I vote typo. – snailplane Feb 17 '15 at 21:47

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. – snailplane Feb 17 '15 at 15:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.