“Problem-Solving” Or “Problem Solving”? Learn If It Is Hyphenated

Is it problem-solving or problem solving? Hyphenation rules seem to be a little confusing when you’re first picking up a language. Don’t worry, though. They’re not nearly as complicated as the language may have led you to believe!

Problem-Solving Or Problem Solving – Hyphenated Or Not?

When we discuss the problem-solving hyphen rule, we learn that problem-solving is hyphenated when used to modify a noun or object in a sentence. We keep the two words separated when using them as their own noun and not modifying anything else in the sentence.

Examples Of When To Use “Problem-Solving”

Now that we’re into the whole debate of problem-solving vs problem solving, let’s look through some examples of how we can use “problem-solving” with a hyphen. As stated above, we use “problem-solving” when modifying a noun or object in a sentence. It’s the most common way to write “problem-solving.” Even the spelling without a hyphen is slowly being pushed out of common language use!

  • This is a problem-solving class.
  • I hold a problem-solving position at my workplace.
  • My manager put me in charge of the problem-solving accounts.
  • They say I have a problem-solving mind.
  • We’re known as problem-solving children.

Examples Of When To Use “Problem Solving”

Though much less common to be seen written as a phrase noun, it is still worth mentioning. It’s grammatically correct to use “problem solving” at the end of a sentence or clause without a hyphen. However, as we stated above, many people are beginning to prefer the ease of sticking to the hyphenated spelling, meaning that it’s slowly phasing out of existence even in this form.

  • I’m good at problem solving.
  • This requires a lot of problem solving.
  • We are all trained in problem solving.
  • My job asks for problem solving.
  • Did you say you were good at problem solving?

Is Problem-Solving Hyphenated AP Style?

Have you had a look through the rules in the AP stylebook before? Even if you haven’t, there’s a good explanation for hyphens there. As we stated above, we use hyphens when linking close words that modify a noun or object in a sentence. They’re used to help a reader better understand what is going on through the modification of the clause.

Should I Capitalize “Solving” In The Word “Problem-Solving”?

The question of “is problem-solving hyphenated” was answered, but now we’ve got a new question. What happens to capitalization rules when we add a hyphen to a title. It depends on your own title choices, so let’s look a little further into the three potential options. The first option capitalizes only the first word and any proper nouns in a title. In this case, neither word in “problem-solving” is capitalized.

The second option capitalizes all words except for short conjunctions, short prepositions, and articles. In this case, you will always capitalize “problem” but always leave “solving” uncapitalized. The final option capitalizes every single word in a title. No matter what, you’ll capitalize both words in “problem-solving” when using this style to write your titles.

Does The Rule Also Apply To “Problem Solver” Vs “Problem-Solver”?

The same rule does apply when we use “problem solver” instead of “problem solving.” However, it’s not often that we’ll see a “problem-solver” modifying a noun or object (unless it’s a problem-solver robot or something). So, it’s most likely you’ll write “problem solver.”

Alternatives To “Problem-Solving”

If you’re still struggling with the hyphen rule of whether it’s problem solving or problem-solving, there’s one last thing we can help you with. We can give you some alternatives that have the same meanings but don’t require a hyphen. This way, you can be safe in your own knowledge without having to worry about getting the rules wrong.

  • interpretive

Quiz – Problem-Solving Or Problem Solving?

We’ll finish with a quiz to see how much you’ve learned from this article. The answers are all multiple choice, so you should have a blast with them! We’ll include the answers at the end to reference as well.

  • I’ve been told that I’m good at (A. problem-solving / B. problem solving).
  • I hold my (A. problem-solving / B. problem solving) skills close to my heart.
  • We aren’t great at (A. problem-solving / B. problem solving).
  • These are all the best (A. problem-solving / B. problem solving) subjects.
  • Can we have a go at a (A. problem-solving / B. problem solving) puzzle?

Quiz Answers

martin lassen dam grammarhow

Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here .

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Problem-Solving or Problem Solving? Hyphenation Best Practices

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Alex Carter

English language has its quirks, and one such quirk that often trips up even the most seasoned writers is knowing when to use a hyphen. Today, I’ll tackle one of those tricky terms: “problem-solving” or “problem solving”? It’s an essential term in our daily lives, whether we’re tackling work dilemmas or figuring out weekend plans. But is it hyphenated?

The answer might surprise you. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, both versions are correct ! That’s right, you can use either “problem-solving” with a hyphen or “problem solving” without a hyphen depending on the context.

Now, before you breathe a sigh of relief thinking this linguistic dilemma doesn’t matter after all – let me stop you right there. While both variations are acceptable in English grammar, they’re not always interchangeable. The key lies in understanding their slightly different uses which I’ll delve into as we progress through this article.

Understanding the Concept of Problem-Solving

Here’s a fun fact. The English language is like a never-ending puzzle, isn’t it? Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, another question pops up! Today’s conundrum? The concept of “problem-solving.” Is it hyphenated or not?

Let me start by saying problem-solving is an essential skill in our lives. It’s that little mental muscle we flex whenever we’re faced with decisions – big or small. From figuring out what to have for breakfast to deciding on a career path, problem-solving plays an integral role.

So let’s dive straight into the grammar behind this term. Technically speaking, both “problem solving” and “problem-solving” are correct. But there’s a catch! When should you use which? Here’s how it works: when “problem solving” acts as a noun (the act of finding solutions), there’s no need for the hyphen. For example:

  • She excels at problem solving.

But when it functions as an adjective (describing something else), put that hyphen in there! Like so:

  • He displayed excellent problem-solving skills during the meeting.

Think about it like this: if you’re discussing the act – skip the dash! If you’re describing something else – add that dash!

One last thing before wrapping this up: remember my advice here only applies to compound adjectives like ‘problem-solving’, where two words work together to describe something else. There are other types of compound words where rules differ slightly but hey, let’s tackle one tricky grammatical topic at a time!

Don’t worry if you’re still feeling confused; even native speakers get tripped up by these nuances sometimes. That’s what makes English such an interesting language—there are always new things to discover and learn!

Difference Between ‘Problem Solving’ and ‘Problem-Solving’

Starting off, let’s get one thing clear: “problem solving” and “problem-solving” aren’t just two sides of the same coin. They’re related, sure, but they serve different purposes in our language.

Let’s delve into this a bit more. When you see “problem solving”, it’s typically used as a noun phrase that refers to the process or act of finding solutions to issues or challenges. For example:

  • I enjoy problem solving.
  • Problem solving is an essential skill for any job.

On the other hand, when you come across “problem-solving”, we’re dealing with an adjective here. It’s used to describe something — or someone – having the capacity or function of resolving difficulties. Here are some instances where you might see it in action:

  • She has excellent problem-solving skills.
  • We need a problem-solving approach to tackle this issue.

So what separates these two? It all comes down to that tiny hyphen – known formally as a compound modifier. In essence, this punctuation mark connects words together so they work as one descriptive element.

It’s like when you use peanut butter and jelly – individually, they’re great on their own (like ‘problem’ and ‘solving’). But sandwich them together with bread (the hyphen), and you’ve got yourself a classic PB&J sandwich!

That being said, don’t fret if you’ve mixed up these forms before – even seasoned writers find themselves tripped up by this tricky grammar rule now and then! Just remember: if you’re describing something with ‘problem’ and ‘solving’, stick that hyphen in there!

To sum things up:

  • Use “Problem Solving” when talking about the act itself
  • Use “Problem-Solving” when describing something or someone able to solve problems

Stay tuned for more intriguing insights into English language quirks coming your way!

Is ‘Problem-Solving’ Hyphenated? A Deep Dive

Ever wondered about the correct usage of the term “problem-solving”? You’re not alone. It’s a common enough question, especially when it comes to writing professional content or academic papers.

Let’s get straight to the point: “problem-solving” is indeed hyphenated when used as an adjective before a noun. That means if you’re referring to problem-solving skills or a problem-solving approach, remember to stick that little dash in there.

To illustrate:

  • Correct: I need to improve my problem-solving skills.
  • Incorrect: I need to improve my problem solving skills.

On the flip side, if “problem solving” is functioning as a noun phrase – that is, it’s the subject or object of your sentence – then no hyphen is required.

Here are some examples for clarification:

  • Correct: Problem solving takes patience and persistence.
  • Incorrect: Problem-solving takes patience and persistence.

The English language can be as slippery as an eel sometimes! Just think of our hyphen here like one of those helpful traffic signs guiding you through unfamiliar territory – it lets us know when two words are working together as one unit (like ‘high-speed chase’) versus when they’re just hanging out side by side (as in ‘the chase was high speed’).

But don’t worry too much! Even seasoned writers might trip up on this from time to time. Remembering rules like these helps keep your writing clear and polished. And who knows? Maybe next time you’ll be the one answering someone else’s grammar questions!

Conclusion: Clarifying Common Misconceptions About Problem-Solving

So, here we are at the end of our journey together. I’ve enjoyed guiding you through the labyrinth that is English language usage and grammar.

Let’s clear something up once and for all – “problem-solving” or “problem solving”? The answer may surprise you. When used as a noun or an adjective before a noun, it’s hyphenated. For example:

  • Noun: My problem-solving capabilities have improved.
  • Adjective: She displayed fine problem-solving skills.

However, when ‘solving’ acts as a verb standing alone after ‘problem’, no hyphen is needed:

  • He is good at problem solving.

To make this even clearer, let’s use bullet points to list some examples:

  • Correct: I need to improve my problem-solving ability.
  • Incorrect: I need to improve my problem solving ability.
  • Correct: His strength lies in problem solving.
  • Incorrect: His strength lies in problem-solving.

I hope this helps dispel any confusion surrounding the term “problem-solving”. It sure can be tricky navigating through the intricacies of English language rules!

Finally, let me share a metaphor with you to illustrate how important proper punctuation is – consider it like traffic signals on your writing journey! Just as traffic lights ensure smooth driving by controlling vehicle flow, correct punctuation ensures smoother reading by managing information flow.

And remember that learning never stops; there’s always more to discover about our fascinating language! So keep those questions coming, and don’t forget – when it comes to grammar nuances like these, every detail matters!

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problem-solve verb

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What does the verb problem-solve mean?

There is one meaning in OED's entry for the verb problem-solve . See ‘Meaning & use’ for definition, usage, and quotation evidence.

How common is the verb problem-solve ?

How is the verb problem-solve pronounced, british english, u.s. english, where does the verb problem-solve come from.

Earliest known use

The earliest known use of the verb problem-solve is in the 1950s.

OED's earliest evidence for problem-solve is from 1956, in New York Times .

problem-solve is formed within English, by compounding.

Etymons: problem n. , solve v.

Nearby entries

  • probleming, n. 1657–
  • problemist, n. a1631–
  • problemistic, adj. 1892–
  • problemize, v. 1844–
  • problemless, adj. 1865–
  • problemo, n. 1985–
  • problem of three bodies, n. 1814–
  • problem-orientated, adj. 1951–
  • problem-oriented, adj. 1946–
  • problem play, n. 1894–
  • problem-solve, v. 1956–
  • problem-solver, n. 1848–
  • problem-solving, n. & adj. 1854–
  • problem tape, n. 1948–
  • problem-wise, adv. a1859–
  • pro-Boarder, n. 1902–
  • pro-Boerism, n. 1899–
  • probole, n.¹ 1684–1880
  • probole, n.² 1696–
  • probolistic, adj. 1876–
  • pro bono, adv. & adj. 1774–

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Meaning & use

Pronunciation, entry history for problem-solve, v..

problem-solve, v. was first published in December 2004

problem-solve, v. was last modified in July 2023 is a living text, updated every three months. Modifications may include:

  • further revisions to definitions, pronunciation, etymology, headwords, variant spellings, quotations, and dates;
  • new senses, phrases, and quotations.

Revisions and additions of this kind were last incorporated into problem-solve, v. in July 2023.

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Citation details

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problem solving uk spelling

Hyphen Rules: Don’t Let Misused Hyphens Muddle Your Adjectives Or Your Writing

by Writer's Relief Staff | Grammar and Usage , Proofreading , Punctuation | 8 comments

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Hyphen Rules: Don't Let Misused Hyphens Muddle Your Adjectives Or Your Writing

Updated June 2023

Learning how to correctly use a hyphen is tricky. The function of the hyphen is to clarify, but it sometimes does the opposite, particularly when it’s used with compound adjectives. Here are some basic hyphenation rules to help you decide when a hyphen is necessary and when its use will just muddle your writing—and confuse your reader.

Be sure you know the difference between a hyphen and an en dash .

problem solving uk spelling

Rule 1: When compound adjectives come before a noun, the adjectives should be hyphenated.

Compound Adjective: two or more adjectives that work together to describe the same noun

Example 1: On Monday, Mrs. Thomas taught problem-solving skills to her class.

The compound adjective problem-solving tells what kind of skills Mrs. Thomas taught. Since these adjectives come before the noun and work together to describe the noun, it’s necessary to place a hyphen between them.

To understand why the hyphen is needed, remove it, then check the sentence’s meaning—it will be very different:

Example 2: On Monday, Mrs. Thomas taught problem solving skills to her class.

With no hyphen between the two adjectives, the writer’s meaning is unclear. Did Mrs. Thomas teach solving skills that were a problem ? Did she teach two types of skills to her class: problem skills and solving skills? Be sure that your punctuation reflects what you’re trying to say.

Also, watch for words that look like compound adjectives but are really separate, independent adjectives. Take a look at the following sentence:

Example 3: Stephen King is a successful, popular writer.

Here, successful and popular do not form a compound adjective; instead, they are two separate, independent adjectives describing writer , and a comma—rather than a hyphen—should be placed between them. Either word could be used by itself, and the sentence would make sense.

Rule 2: If the compound adjective comes after the noun it describes, no hyphen is needed.

Example 4: On Monday, Mrs. Thomas taught her class many skills, including problem solving .

Since problem solving follows the noun (skills), no hyphen is needed.

Sometimes writers may use what is called a suspending hyphen , a hyphen that is used when two or more adjectives have the same base element, and the base element is shown only with the last term. Consider the following examples:

Example 5: Although they couldn’t wait for their new furniture, Bill and Abby knew that there would be a three- to four-day delay in delivery.

Here, three and four share the base word day . The writer could have written three-day and four-day delay , but using the suspending hyphen creates writing that is more succinct and easier to read.

Example 6: Peter’s knowledge of the case was through second- and thirdhand information.

In this sentence, the hyphen after second tells the reader that second shares the same base element as thirdhand , which is, of course, hand . Again, using the suspending hyphen is more efficient than writing secondhand and thirdhand information .

So far, so good, right? Well, there is an exception to these basic hyphenation rules.

Rule 3: Do not hyphenate when the first of the two words ends in -ly.

Example 7: Maddie is an extremely overworked mother.

Extremely is an adverb. By definition, adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. In this sentence, extremely is not describing mother (which is a noun) but is telling how overworked Maddie is. Therefore, no hyphen is needed between extremely and overworked .

Rule 4: Watch for special hyphenated nouns.

Example 8: She was the runner-up in the beauty contest.

Other examples can include mother-in-law (and the other in-laws), best-seller, follow-up, etc. When in doubt about a hyphenated noun (as opposed to a compound word, such as letterhead or freeway), don’t guess. It’s always best to look it up in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (our dictionary of choice).

Hyphens may be disappearing in some cases (thanks to the Internet), but if you proofread your work carefully and follow these basic rules, they won’t trip you up! Learn more about Writer’s Relief expert proofreaders ! And once your work is proofread, why not use Writer’s Relief’s expertise? We can help target the best markets and boost your odds of getting an acceptance or securing agent representation. Learn more about our services and submit your writing sample to our Review Board today!

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The best rule about hyphens is to AVOID them unless absolutely necessary for sense.


Would you write [non-spark-producing material] or [non-spark producing material]?

Writers Relief Staff

Joe, in this instance, you would write [non-spark-producing material]. However, you might want to reword that depending on the rest of the sentence; it sounds a bit awkward. Hope this helped!

Madie Murray

I learned the general rule that always works for me: no noun, no hyphen. I do wonder, however, about fully equipped, such as “he had a fully-equipped shop.” I’m guessing that follows the ly rule?

Writer's Relief Staff

That is correct, Madie. Fully equipped falls under the -ly rule.


Thanks, I have recently been looking for information about this subject for ages and yours is the best I’ve discovered!


Hi! I am trying to determine if using the term “problem solver” as in, I am a problem solver, would that be hyphenated?

“Problem solver” has no hyphen.

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problem solving uk spelling

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Definition of problem-solving

Examples of problem-solving in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'problem-solving.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near problem-solving

Cite this entry.

“Problem-solving.” Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Mar. 2024.

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Definition of 'problem-solving'

Problem-solving in british english.

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Examples of 'problem-solving' in a sentence problem-solving

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How to improve your english spelling, by rajul goveas, 6 january 2022 - 11:24am.

problem solving uk spelling

Ever heard of ‘Spelling Bee’? Perhaps the first word is a giveaway! It is, believe it or not, a spelling contest where almost 11 million students participate every year. The contest started out really small around 90 years ago to help students improve their spelling and vocabulary, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage. Now, we are not looking at becoming ‘spell-a-thoners’, but improving spelling and vocabulary must definitely interest you, especially if you want to learn how to use English correctly. 

Where do we begin and how can we improve our spelling? Practice, practice, and more practice is the mantra! You can also follow some basic rules to keep learning and make it fun too!

Rules to learn spellings, you say? Don’t we just learn them by heart? Yes, there are simple rules to make learning spellings easier. All you need to do is understand the logic and the concept behind learning spelling. Then, learn the rules and don’t forget the exceptions too!  

1. Don’t spell words the way they are pronounced

Sometimes we drop letters while we speak or change the vowel sounds. For example, we drop the /d/ sound in ‘handkerchief’ and pronounce it as /ˈhæŋ.kə.tʃiːf/ (han-ker-chief). ‘Colonel’ has an ‘o’ but it is pronounced as /ˈkɜːnəl/ (kernel). ‘Yacht’ has and ‘a’ but is pronounced as /jɒt/ (yot).

2. Watch out for prefixes, suffixes and more

Learn more about correctly adding prefixes and suffixes, forming plurals, doubling letters, dropping and adding letters with examples in the table below. 

3. Beware of ‘ie’ or ‘ei’

A simple thumb rule here is: when we have a long vowel sound /i:/ as in the word brief, we spell it with ‘ie’.  e.g.  achieve, belief, diesel, niece, relieve. However, in words that have the letter ‘c’, we spell it as ‘ei’ after the ‘c’. e.g. ei after c - ceiling, conceit, deceive, receipt, perceive. Remember ‘i’ before and ‘e’ except when there’s a ‘c’! Words that do not have the long vowel /i:/ as in brief, follow the usual order, that is, ‘e’ before ‘i’.  e.g. neighbour, leisure, height. Of course, there are exceptions! The words friend, ancient, science are common deviants from this rule.

4. Silent letters – ignore them while speaking, include them while writing 

Don’t we pronounce all the letters in a word? No! Strange but true! There are some letters that we spell out in a word, but don’t say them when we speak. So remember to add them in while writing, but you can ignore them while speaking. Here are some classic everyday examples:

Silent B - debt, doubt, dumb Silent C - muscle, disciple, descend Silent G - design, foreign Silent P – psychology, receipt

Wow! Aren’t these a lot of rules! Don’t worry. Just start with the basics and try to understand them one at a time. Soon you’ll get the hang of it all. And where did I get these rules? From my best friend-the dictionary. In this case it is courtesy Cambridge,  

Ever thought of making friends with a dictionary? Do this if you are really interested in improving your spellings and building your vocabulary bank. There are some other good ones available online too. To name a couple:

1. Merriam-Webster 

2. Oxford Learners Dictionary 

Get down to the roots

A smart move to learn spelling - ask the question - where does the word come from?

Knowing or learning the origins of words is called ‘etymology’. The English language is influenced by many foreign languages like French, Greek, Italian, Latin, Roman, Spanish. Lately, several Indian words have been making their way into English dictionaries too. This means that the spelling of the word won’t often follow the rules of English grammar and pronunciation. So, how can we learn to spell is a million-dollar question! 

If the words originate from the same foreign language and have the same root (the basic part of a word that can be modified by adding prefixes or suffixes), we can notice patterns that help us with spelling skills. For example, words of Greek origin like psycho from psycho have a silent ‘p’.  The root word ‘bene’ from Latin, which means ‘well’ forms part of words like benefactor, benefit. If you have reached here it means you are still with me, and therefore here’s your bonus!

Differences between British English and American English

Differences in British English (BE) and American English (AmE) can sometimes cause trouble too. We have largely focused on BE here, but let’s look at differences between two.

•Spellings with ‘s’ or ‘ z’

IELTS test givers please note: Both spellings are accepted as long as you don’t mix the two in your writing. Follow one style.


Do you want chips (AmE) or crisps (BE)? Would you like some cookies (AmE) with your tea or biscuits (BE)? Oh! Never mind. Just bring a plateful of both-whatever you want to call them is what I would say with a smile. And here’s one more for you. Do you wear trousers (BE) or pants (AmE)? Eh? Both right? Many-a-time these two words become a joke - simply a question of the British saying, what is worn as an outer by you is an inner for us. And so the list goes on! Read on for a few more examples.

Yes, there are differences in grammar, but that’s something that you need not worry about right now! The important thing to note is even though there are differences there are more similarities. To communicate you can use either BE or AmE, and if you use BE instead of AE or vice versa chances of miscommunication are rare so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t remember the shades of both languages.

Oh!…wait…talking about British and American English, what about accent? Does that matter? I don’t think so! You just have to spell and pronounce the words correctly. It would be a good idea though, if you learnt the diacritics, which are small symbols found above words in a dictionary. These tell you how and where to put an accent on a word. And not to forget phonetics in language which help to develop your pronunciation and speaking skills. This is a whole new subject we will deal with in another blog. However, if you’re curious what this is, here’s a link to download the phonemic chart.  

How can I improve my English spelling?

Here are some easy-to-follow strategies you can work on yourself to improve your spellings. 

• Think of all the words you have a problem with or the ones whose spellings you want to remember. A simple strategy you could try to become a ‘spell-a-thoner’ is the 3-columns guide. 

• In the ‘first’ column, write all the words you want to learn.

• In the ‘second’ column, write the same words as many times as you want without looking at them

• In the ‘third’ column, which is your real test, write the words that you have finally remembered and spelt correctly. This last one is a ‘feel good’ column as you will be able to see how far you have come. 

• Look up new words and note them down to learn and add to your 3-column guide

• Curiosity about new words won’t kill you, but will only make you stronger, helping you learn a few words every day

• Google will throw up an endless pool of resources, but the two that I would definitely recommend are:

-  BBC Teach – Skillswise, Spellings -  Here you will find useful techniques to help with your spelling using memory aids, common letter patterns, root words etc.

-  Johnny Grammar’s Word Challenge  -  Want to earn Word Wizard and Supreme Speller badges? You can complete all the levels on this app which tests common vocabulary and spelling that appear in everyday English.

•Rope in your family and ask them to check your spellings, just like way back when you were in school. They can be great coaches. Or get yourself a spelling partner                which is even better!

•Use flash cards or post-its’ with tricky words and stick them where you can see them

•Categorise words according to their roots or the number of letters each word has

•Break up long words into small parts (syllables) to remember them

•Think of words that have a similar pronunciation

•Challenge yourself with word games like ‘Invisible man’, ‘Scrabble’ or do ‘Crosswords’.

•Connect with the words as they roll off your tongue, get that passion and love within you for learning new words.

There is no one-size-fits-all method for learning. You know too, that some words are just unusual and there’s no easy way to learn them except by heart. It’s difficult to memorise lists of words so get on with your reading which is the best way come across new words and be challenged to spell. There is no magical shortcut, and it is certainly not a cake walk, but it is within you to make spelling your very own special piece of cake. The benefits are enhanced communication skills because of a rich ‘vocablary’ or is it vocabulary? Look it up!

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Spelling words in English is challenging work. As a matter of fact, many native speakers of English have problems with spelling correctly. One of the main reasons for this is that many, many English words are NOT spelled as they are spoken. This difference between pronunciation and spelling causes a lot of confusion. The combination "ough" provides an excellent example:

  • Tough - pronounced - tuf (the 'u' sounding as in 'cup')
  • Through - pronounced - throo
  • Dough - pronounced - doe (long 'o')
  • Bought - pronounced - bawt

It's enough to make anyone crazy! Here are some of the most common problems when spelling words in English.

Three Syllables Pronounced as Two Syllables

  • Aspirin - pronounced - asprin
  • Different - pronounced - diffrent
  • Every - pronounced - evry

Four Syllables Pronounced as Three Syllables

  • Comfortable - pronounced - comfrtable
  • Temperature - pronounced - temprature
  • Vegetable - pronounced - vegtable

Words That Sound the Same (Homophones)

  • two, to, too - pronounced - too
  • knew, new - pronounced - niew
  • through, threw - pronounced - throo
  • not, knot, naught - pronounced - not

Same Sounds - Different Spellings

'Eh' as in 'Let'

'Ai' as in 'I'

The following letters are silent when pronounced .

  • D  - sandwich, Wednesday
  • G  - sign, foreign
  • GH  - daughter, light, right
  • H  - why, honest, hour
  • K  - know, knight, knob
  • L  - should, walk, half
  • P  - cupboard, psychology
  • S  - island
  • T  - whistle, listen, fasten
  • U  - guess, guitar
  • W  - who, write, wrong

Unusual Letter Combinations

  • GH = 'F': cough, laugh, enough, rough
  • CH = 'K': chemistry, headache, Christmas, stomach
  • EA = 'EH': breakfast, head, bread, instead
  • EA = 'EI': steak, break
  • EA = 'EE': weak, streak
  • OU = 'UH': country, double, enough
  • How to Stress Syllables in English
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  • English Pronunciation Exercises - U Sounding Vowels
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  • English Pronunciation Exercises - Short Vowels and Consonants
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  • B2 speaking

Dealing with a problem

In this video, Vanya goes to Yuna with a problem. Listen to the language they use for dealing with a problem and practise saying the useful phrases.

Do the preparation exercise first. Then watch the video and do the exercises to check your understanding and practise the language.


Speaking B2: Dealing with a problem – preparation

Ana : Hi! I'm Ana. Welcome to What to Say ! 

Do you know what to say when you need to deal with a problem? Listen out for useful language for dealing with a problem. Then, we'll practise saying the new phrases – after this.

Vanya : Yuna!

Yuna : Oh, morning!

Vanya : I've got a bit of a problem. 

Yuna : What's wrong?

Vanya : Can we talk in private?

Yuna : Of course.

Yuna : Right, so, what's the matter? 

Vanya : Well, I've made a mistake. A big mistake.

Yuna : OK. I'm sure we can work it out.

Vanya : It was such a silly thing to do! 

Yuna : I'm getting worried now. What's going on here? 

Vanya : OK. It was late last night and I was tired. I wasn't concentrating and I accidentally used my company credit card instead of my own to buy something! 

Yuna : Don't worry, these things happen. There's a procedure to deal with this. How much did you spend? 

Vanya : It was quite expensive.

Yuna : How expensive?

Vanya : It was very expensive.

Yuna : Vanya, how expensive?

Vanya : £3,782 … and 56 pence.

Yuna : What? You spent £3,782?! 

Vanya : … and 56 pence. 

Yuna : What was it? Vanya?

Vanya : Just a weekend break! I just like a really nice hotel!

Yuna : OK, I see. Thanks for letting me know.

Vanya : Ah! I feel so much better now I've told you. Please don't tell Noelia.

Yuna : Oh, I'm definitely going to tell her!

Noelia : Hi!

Vanya : Hi!

Ana : Hello again! Wow, that's a lot of money for a weekend break. So, did you notice the useful phrases used for dealing with a problem? Listen to me and then repeat. 

What's wrong?

I've got a bit of a problem.

Could we talk in private?

What's the matter?

I've made a mistake.

I'm sure we can work it out.

Don't worry, these things happen.

Thanks for letting me know.

I feel so much better now I've told you.

Ana : Try and use some of these phrases the next time you need to deal with a problem in English. Bye for now!

Speaking B2: Dealing with a problem – 1

Speaking B2: Dealing with a problem – 2

Speaking B2: Dealing with a problem – 3

When was the last time you helped someone with a problem at work?

Language level

Well, at work usually we deal with issues all the time. Since our job is to help others to understand a product features and functionalities, we are solving problems all the time. One of the things I like the most of my job is that we all are always available to lend a hand when it is needed.

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The last time I helped someone was yesterday. It was something related to my parents and I'm still working on that issue wish me luck!

Good luck, I hope everything is getting better.

Currently, I don't have a job, but sometimes I also help my classmates at university when they are absent. For example, I will send them the curriculum of the lesson that the teacher is teaching that day.

I used to help my coworkers, colleagues, sisters and friends dealing with their problems by giving them some tips form my experience, and reciprocally I receive help from them and i don't hesitate a second to ask for help when I'am in a tough situation. I remember once my sister have deleted all data on her phone and she didn't have a clue how to get them back, so I suggested to install a recovery application but it didn't work, i took her to a friend who has a remarkable backgound in this field and thanks to him he fixed the problem and recovered all her important data.

The last time I helped someone with a problem was at school. One of my colleagues had a hard time planning for his studies effectively, so I told him about my studying routine, hoping that it will help him know what he was doing wrong.

Today I helped my colleague and explained her how the calculation should be done.

actually i don't work yet but i used to help my classmates at the university. I sent them what the teacher mentioned in the previous lesson. Thank to that, they could complete the assignment on time.

i don´t work yet but i help my colleagues at school with their homeworks or with classes that they missed

Well the day before yesterday when there was no network in the office available. Connecting with internet provider and our IT helpdesk helped to solve the issue.

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Definition of problem noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  • big/serious/major problems
  • She has a lot of health problems .
  • financial/social/technical problems
  • Let me know if you have any problems .
  • The government must address the problem of child poverty.
  • We cannot tackle this problem effectively on our own.
  • We are dealing with a serious problem here.
  • Money isn't going to solve the problem .
  • (especially North American English) to fix a problem
  • If he chooses Mary it's bound to cause problems .
  • to pose/create a problem
  • The problem first arose in 2018.
  • problem with something There is a problem with this argument.
  • problem of something the problem of drug abuse
  • problem of doing something Most students face the problem of funding themselves while they are studying.
  • problem for somebody Unemployment is a very real problem for graduates now.
  • It’s a nice table! The only problem is (that) it’s too big for our room.
  • Part of the problem is the shape of the room.
  • Stop worrying about their marriage—it isn't your problem.
  • There's no history of heart problems (= disease connected with the heart) in our family.
  • the magazine’s problem page (= containing letters about readers’ problems and advice about how to solve them)
  • All the anti-depressant does is mask the problem.
  • Depression is a natural feeling if your problems seem intractable.
  • For years I've tried to overlook this problem.
  • Fortunately, it's easy to avoid any potential problems.
  • Framing the problem is an important step.
  • She believes she may have found a solution to the problem.
  • He developed a drinking problem.
  • She doesn't really see the problem.
  • He doesn't seem to understand my problem.
  • She had to undergo surgery to cure the problem with her knee.
  • He has been faced with all manner of problems in his new job.
  • Her new job had taken her mind off her family problems for a while.
  • I didn't imagine there would be a problem about getting tickets.
  • I don't anticipate any future problems in that regard.
  • I forgot my problems for a moment.
  • I'm glad you finally admitted your problem.
  • If the problem persists you should see a doctor.
  • Inadequate resources pose a problem for all members of staff.
  • Most people can see the ethical problem with accepting such an offer.
  • No one ever asked why or how the problem originated.
  • Our greatest problem is the lack of funds.
  • She had serious substance abuse problems with both cocaine and heroin.
  • She raised the problem of falling sales at the last meeting.
  • Success brings its own problems.
  • Systemic security problems have been identified.
  • The accident poses a terrible problem for the family.
  • The basic problem remains the lack of available housing.
  • The plan has been fraught with problems from the start.
  • The problem lies in the lack of communication between managers and staff.
  • Therein lies the problem.
  • The rail strike is a problem for all commuters.
  • The role of the sun in climate change is still a big unsolved problem.
  • The traffic in illegal drugs is a global problem.
  • These symptoms may indicate a serious problem.
  • They created a task force to study this problem.
  • They sold their car to ease their financial problems.
  • This illustrates another potential problem.
  • This underscores the biggest problem with electronic voting.
  • We need to get to the root of the problem before we can solve it.
  • We're faced with a whole host of new problems.
  • This is one of the great problems of cosmology: where did the overall structure of the universe come from?
  • present (somebody with)
  • behaviour/​behavior
  • problem about
  • problem for
  • an approach to a problem
  • the crux of the problem
  • the heart of the problem

Take your English to the next level

The Oxford Learner’s Thesaurus explains the difference between groups of similar words. Try it for free as part of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary app

problem solving uk spelling

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Meaning of problem in English

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  • problem What's the problem here?
  • difficulty The company is having some financial difficulties at the moment.
  • trouble We've had a lot of trouble with the new computer system.
  • hitch The ceremony went without a hitch.
  • glitch We've had a few technical glitches, but I'm confident we'll be ready on time.
  • hurdle Getting a work permit is only the first hurdle.
  • Traffic congestion in large cities seems to be an insoluble problem.
  • Her only problem is lack of confidence .
  • I've had continual problems with this car ever since I bought it.
  • Tiredness, loss of appetite and sleeping problems are all classic symptoms of depression .
  • Desperate measures are needed to deal with the growing drug problem.
  • a (heavy) cross to bear idiom
  • ball and chain
  • be dead meat idiom
  • be in the clear idiom
  • stumbling block
  • teething troubles
  • thorn in your flesh/side idiom

You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics:

problem | Intermediate English

Examples of problem, collocations with problem.

These are words often used in combination with problem .

Click on a collocation to see more examples of it.

Translations of problem

Get a quick, free translation!


Word of the Day

white chocolate

a sweet, cream-coloured food made from cocoa butter, sugar, and milk, that is usually sold in a block

Renowned and celebrated (Words meaning ‘famous’)

Renowned and celebrated (Words meaning ‘famous’)

problem solving uk spelling

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  • problem child, family, etc.
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  1. "Problem-Solving" Or "Problem Solving"? Learn If It Is Hyphenated

    It's grammatically correct to use "problem solving" at the end of a sentence or clause without a hyphen. However, as we stated above, many people are beginning to prefer the ease of sticking to the hyphenated spelling, meaning that it's slowly phasing out of existence even in this form. I'm good at problem solving.


    PROBLEM-SOLVING definition: the process of finding solutions to problems: . Learn more.

  3. Problem-Solving or Problem Solving? Hyphenation Best Practices

    On the flip side, if "problem solving" is functioning as a noun phrase - that is, it's the subject or object of your sentence - then no hyphen is required. Correct: Problem solving takes patience and persistence. Incorrect: Problem-solving takes patience and persistence.

  4. PROBLEM-SOLVING definition and meaning

    The act or process of finding solutions to problems, esp by using a scientific or analytical.... Click for English pronunciations, examples sentences, video.

  5. problem-solving

    Definition of problem-solving noun in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more.

  6. problem-solve, v. meanings, etymology and more

    problem-solve, v. meanings, etymology, pronunciation and more in the Oxford English Dictionary ... problem-solving, n. & adj. 1854 ... headwords, variant spellings, quotations, and dates; new senses, phrases, and quotations. Revisions and additions of this kind were last incorporated into problem-solve, v. in July 2023. Cite. Chicago. Oxford ...

  7. PROBLEM-SOLVING definition

    PROBLEM-SOLVING meaning: the process of finding solutions to problems: . Learn more.

  8. Hyphen Rules: Don't Let Misused Hyphens Muddle Your Adjectives Or Your

    Rule 1: When compound adjectives come before a noun, the adjectives should be hyphenated. Compound Adjective: two or more adjectives that work together to describe the same noun Example 1: On Monday, Mrs. Thomas taught problem-solving skills to her class.. The compound adjective problem-solving tells what kind of skills Mrs. Thomas taught. Since these adjectives come before the noun and work ...

  9. problem-solving

    Spelling Punctuation Usage Writing help Wordlists Word origins ... British & World English; problem-solving; Definition of problem-solving in English: cite. ... the process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues: an expert at creative problem-solving [as modifier] : problem-solving skills. More example sentences


    PROBLEM-SOLVING pronunciation. How to say problem-solving. Listen to the audio pronunciation in English. Learn more.

  11. Problem-solving Definition & Meaning

    The meaning of PROBLEM-SOLVING is the process or act of finding a solution to a problem. How to use problem-solving in a sentence.

  12. PROBLEM-SOLVING definition in American English

    problem-solving in British English. problem-solving. (ˈprɒbləmsɒlvɪŋ ) noun. the act or process of finding solutions to problems, esp by using a scientific or analytical approach. Problem-solving is often carried on by processes of visualization. an approach to problem-solving. Collins English Dictionary.

  13. Problem solving

    Some higher animals, such as apes and cetaceans, have demonstrated more complex problem-solving abilities, including Problem solving | Creative Thinking, Decision Making & Cognitive Processes | Britannica

  14. #1 British Grammar Checker

    Yes, this grammar checker covers the following mistakes: 1. Grammar: Correction of grammatical errors such as subject-verb agreement, tense usage, and sentence structure 2. Spelling: identification and correction of spelling errors, including typos and commonly confused words. 3. Punctuation: Detection and rectification of punctuation errors, including incorrect use of commas, periods, colons ...

  15. Problem solving

    U - Understand - underline or circle key elements. A - Approximate - think about the size of your answer. C - Calculate. K - Know if the answer is sensible or not. By following these ...

  16. How to improve your English spelling

    Dropping letters. Drop the final 'e' when adding a suffix beginning with a vowel. However, keep the -e to differentiate them from similar words. approve + -al → approval hope + -ing → hoping fame + -ous → famous invite + -ation → invitation dying (verb: die) dyeing (verb: dye) 6. Adding letters.

  17. Critical thinking and problem solving

    WBQ; Critical thinking and problem solving Critical thinking and problem solving. Using different techniques will identify what information to collect during the problem solving process.

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    UK Spellings. There are a lot of differences between UK spelling rules and US spellings. Learn more about specific UK spellings and how to teach them in this teaching wiki. Download FREE teacher-made resources covering 'UK Spellings'. View FREE Resources.

  19. Common English Spelling & Pronunciation Problems

    Spelling words in English is challenging work. As a matter of fact, many native speakers of English have problems with spelling correctly. One of the main reasons for this is that many, many English words are NOT spelled as they are spoken. This difference between pronunciation and spelling causes a lot of confusion.

  20. How to pronounce PROBLEM-SOLVING in English

    How to pronounce problem-solving. How to say problem-solving. Listen to the audio pronunciation in the Cambridge English Dictionary. Learn more.

  21. Dealing with a problem

    Check your browser's developer console for more details. In this video, Vanya goes to Yuna with a problem. Listen to the language they use for dealing with a problem and practise saying the useful phrases. Do the preparation exercise first. Then watch the video and do the exercises to check your understanding and practise the language.

  22. problem noun

    The accident poses a terrible problem for the family. The basic problem remains the lack of available housing. The plan has been fraught with problems from the start. The problem lies in the lack of communication between managers and staff. Therein lies the problem. The rail strike is a problem for all commuters.

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    5 min read • June, 01 2023. Evidence-based practice in nursing involves providing holistic, quality care based on the most up-to-date research and knowledge rather than traditional methods, advice from colleagues, or personal beliefs. Nurses can expand their knowledge and improve their clinical practice experience by collecting, processing ...


    PROBLEM meaning: 1. a situation, person, or thing that needs attention and needs to be dealt with or solved: 2. a…. Learn more.