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How to Use "Issue" Like a Pro

How to Use "Issue" Like a Pro

Do you know the word "issue" well?

It's a surprisingly useful word that fluent English speakers may say several times a day. Part of the reason why it's so common is because it has many different meanings and uses. So if you only know one, read on to see what you're missing.

Noun uses

We'll begin with "issue" as a noun.


Several issues of a magazine stacked on a table

The first meaning refers to things like magazines and comic books that are released on a regular schedule. For example, a monthly magazine would have 12 issues every year, one for each month.

The character of Spider-Man first appeared in issue number 15 of the Amazing Fantasy comic in 1962.
The magazine is going to publish my short story in the summer issue.


The other noun version of "issue" is quite common in business and other formal situations. It is another way to say "problem" or "difficulty." While it doesn't sound as negative as those other words, the meaning is sometimes exactly the same.

Some users have complained about issues connecting to our site.
There have been no issues and everything is going smoothly with the project.
We have to hire a specialist to help us deal with this issue.

Personal problems

A man sitting on a sofa and talking to a mental health professional

While "issue" can be a problem at work or on some kind of project, it can also refer to problems that are much more personal. It's a useful word for talking about something negative without being specific.

Jim and Katie have been having some issues in their relationship lately.
I've been meeting with a mental health doctor to help me deal with some issues I've had for many years.
I don't want this disagreement to become an issue between us.

Verb use

A worker using his security card to enter a building

As a verb, "issue" has one basic meaning, which is "to give" or "to send out." This can be used in a few different ways. This formal usage is quite common when referring to official documents.

The HR department is responsible for issuing ID cards and security badges.
It's the duty of police officers to issue tickets to drivers who break the traffic laws.
In order to address the rumors, the leaders issued a statement regarding the company's financial situation.

There is an adjective usage that is related to this. Something that is "standard-issue" is normal or common.

These are standard-issue uniforms that all soldiers receive.


A worker pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration

Let's finish this article with a few idioms that use "issue."

Take issue with

Meaning: to get upset or angry about

Simon took issue with the decisions the new manager has made.

Make an issue (out of something)

Meaning: to treat something very seriously

Let's not make an issue out of this. It's not that important.


Meaning: something that is not important

We wasted a lot of time in the meeting discussing a non-issue.


There are even more uses of "issue," but the ones we've covered here are the most common in daily use. As you can see, it can be quite useful as both a noun and as a verb. Be sure to add all of these uses to your vocabulary!