In this weekly microblog, we bring to English language learners more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult.
This week’s language tip helps with the noun trouble.
Trouble is mostly used as an uncountable noun, so:
▪ it is not usually found in the plural
▪ it never comes after a or a number
✗ Most people who are in prison have had
troubleswith the law before.
✓ Most people who are in prison have had trouble with the law before.
✗ If they come face to face with
a trouble, the first thing they do is cry.
✓ If they come face to face with trouble, the first thing they do is cry.
When trouble is the object of the verbs cause and get into, it is always singular:
✗ Young criminals should get in touch with their victims, so that they can realize the
troublesthey have caused.
✓ Young criminals should get in touch with their victims, so that they can realize the trouble they have caused.
✗ If children get into
troubles, their parents must bail them out.
✓ If children get into trouble, their parents must bail them out.
The plural form troubles is used to refer to all the problems that a person has, and it is often used with a possessive determiner:
The prime minister seemed to be brooding over his troubles.
We all have our troubles and we must deal with them as best we can.
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