Can anyone tell me what preposition should be used after the verb 'struggle' because I've seen both versions like "struggle to" and "struggle with" ?

A handful of other rich countries are struggling with opioid misuse too.

But pharmacists from hospitals outside Lagos, the commercial capital, must travel there to buy morphine. Smaller hospitals struggle to pay for the trip.


2 Answers 2


In my completely informal opinion, you "struggle to" with a verb and "struggle with" a noun.

"I struggle to tie my shoes." In this case struggle refers to the tying of the shoes.

"I struggle with alcohol abuse." In this case the struggle is with alcoholism.

  • 2
    What about "I struggle with tying my shoes", where tying is a verb participle?
    – Chappo
    May 28, 2016 at 5:25
  • A good point... Maybe more clear to say that one "struggles with" a thing or action?
    – Stephen Bendl
    May 28, 2016 at 6:15
  • 1
    Yes, and maybe refer to the other usage as a "to-infinitive" verb construction. It's best to add these to your answer by re-editing it, rather than adding to comments, as this will increase your chances of positive votes and reduce the risk of downvotes (I see you've got one drive-by downvote already - with any luck they'll change their vote if you improve your answer).
    – Chappo
    May 28, 2016 at 7:38
  • @Chappo, In your sentence, tying is not a verb participle, it is a gerund or verbal noun. So, as this answer says, you struggle with it because it is a noun.
    – JavaLatte
    Aug 26, 2016 at 21:35
  • Seriously, 'In my informal opinion'?. Don't answer it if aint sure coz that won't help.
    – John Arvin
    Feb 26, 2018 at 1:47

Don't confuse purpose: struggle to do something. a "to infinitive" signals a purpose or reason.


to struggle with something: there is no purpose. It merely identifies your struggle.

This is not a case of a verb "taking a preposition" as many verbs can do the same thing.

To play with a person. [to identify who is being played with] To play to the crowd. [purpose]

  • What about "Struggle into" Mar 3, 2019 at 9:59
  • 1
    @Kumarsadhu What about it? "I am not covering every single preposition, she said as struggled into her tight shoes."
    – Lambie
    Mar 3, 2019 at 13:39

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