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When you want to say that you had or are having problems with something, what is the best way to express this:

I'm having a problem with saying this correctly.

I'm having a problem saying this correctly.

Another example:

There is a problem with sending this form.

There is a problem sending this form.

  • 1
    I think there is no problem in saying "in saying" rather than "with saying" here, but, maybe, I'm wrong. – user114 Jan 28 '13 at 20:19
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    @Carlo_R.: I think Nicolás is asking whether he needs any preposition at all, not whether with could be replaced by in. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 28 '13 at 22:16
5

Either will be understood, and can be correct, but in my opinion the inclusion of the word "with" has a connotation of a more general problem.

There is a problem sending this form.

This probably implies that there is a specific problem with the form, that prevents it from being sent. Perhaps you forgot to include your last name, and the web site is rejecting it as invalid.

There is a problem with sending this form.

This could suggest a more general problem, which is preventing sending the form, or which may result from sending the form. It may not be a problem with the form directly, but perhaps your Internet connection is not working. Or perhaps your computer has caught fire. Or it may be that if you submit the form, a problem will arise--perhaps your employer will discover you are looking for work elsewhere.

with could also suggest a personal or moral objection, rather than a practical, problem:

I have a problem with going to strip clubs.
She had a problem with the way he sang.

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    I agree, a problem with may be talking about a problem that could result from sending the form. The sending may work just fine, but you might not want to send it because that will cause X to happen. – Jim Jan 28 '13 at 20:53
  • @Jim: Good addition; answer updated. – Flimzy Jan 28 '13 at 22:00
4

I think Flimzy is on the right track, but hasn't quite got there.

Omiting the preposition entirely has the effect of linking the problem and the action more closely. Thus, in a sentence like...

There is a problem getting my book published
we assume the action itself is being somehow hindered (maybe I haven't finished the last chapter).

...but...

There is a problem with getting my book published
implies doing the action will cause a problem (maybe I'll have to start paying tax on the income).

Note that this is only a tendency. Most native speakers won't normally be aware of the distinction, nor will those who are aware make the distinction themselves with any consistency.

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