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  • One common idiomatic use of ‘trouble’ is in the phrase ‘the trouble is (that) …..’ – e.g. (in the context of trying to make arrangements):

    The trouble is that I’ve got to pick the kids up from school first.
    The trouble is, I’ve got to pick the kids up from school first.

    This is particularly common in spoken English, and the comma in the second version represents a pause, or at least an intonation boundary. The main stress is on ‘is’ (or ‘was’, if you’re talking about a past situation) and the word ‘is’ (or ‘was’) typically, though not always, has a fall-rise intonation.

    In this idiom, ‘trouble’ means more or less the same as ‘problem’, and you can equally well say, with the same stress and intonation:

    The problem is that I’ve got to pick the kids up from school first.
    The problem is, I’ve got to pick the kids up from school first.

    Other lexical phrases that typically conform to the same pronunciation pattern – stress on ‘is/was’ and fall-rise intonation – include:

    the thing is …..
    the snag is …..
    the only thing is …..
    the reason is …..
    the point is …..
    the question is …..
    the fact is …..
    the funny thing is …..
    the strange thing is …..
    the worst thing is …..
    the best thing is …..