The word "issue" has different meanings, depending on whether it’s used as a verb or as a noun.

When "issue" is a noun, it refers to current ideas and concerns in government or in a person’s life:

  • Global warming is an important issue.
  • Gun control is a hotly contested issue between the two major political parties.
  • Voters pay attention to the issues during a political campaign before an election.
  • There are some important moral issues which cannot be ignored regarding the refugee crisis in Syria and Iraq.
  • We’re not sure where the Governor stands on this issue.
  • Where do you stand on the issue of abortion?
  • Edward deals with important issues as part of his job all day long.
  • Pamela has an interest in issues related to childcare.

Sometimes the word "issue" takes on a slightly stronger meaning when talking about a person’s attitudes and personal beliefs, or when there are major differences in opinions that cause problems in relationships.

  • My supervisor and I have some issues. (We’re not getting along.)
  • Do you have an issue with this? (Do you have an objection to this?)
  • Issues in their marriage led Bill and Sophia to divorce.
  • They had some issues that couldn’t be resolved.

As a noun, an issue is also a publication of a newspaper or magazine:

  • There’s a picture of Adele in today’s issue of the New York Times.
  • The latest issue of The Atlantic magazine has a great article about President Obama.

When the word "issue" is a verb, it means to distribute or give out something:

  • The county in which I live issues a driver’s license to people who have passed a driving test.
  • I was issued a driver’s license.
  • The U.S. and state governments issue refund checks to people who have overpaid their taxes.
  • The military issues uniforms to new recruits.
  • Money is issued by the U.S. mint.

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Date of publication: February 13, 2017