Is ‘problem’ a verb?

Yes, if you’re in the Philippines. It’s a kind of Filipinoism that is generally accepted in informal conversations. There’s a popular saying that goes: ‘Don’t problem your problem. Let your problem problem your problem.’ The use of ‘problem’ as a verb, however, is frowned upon in formal writing and would probably get you a failing grade if you include it in your college essay.

But now, to the million-dollar question…

Should we problem our problem?


If you think about it, problem, in its basic sense, is really just a situation. A difficult one, to be more precise. And it’s because of the difficulty of the situation that makes us think of it as a problem.

Consider this scenario:

Julio and Julia are siblings — twins, in fact. Julio was born retarded while Julia was proclaimed normal. When their mother died because of a freak car accident in EDSA, the effect on Julia was so great that she suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalized for a month. Julio, on the other hand, marked the event by picking boogers out of his snotty nose and staring blankly at the ceiling.

Two persons. Same situation. Julia identified said situation as a problem and suffered a nervous breakdown as a result. Julio, on the other hand, did not equate the situation to a problem and suffered nothing from it. See what I mean? Julia with her sane mind, who has seen, perceived and soaked the effect of death on people, reacted in a sane, normal and acceptable way, i.e. she suffered ill-effects because of it. If she had acted in the same manner as her brother, I’m quite sure that people would begin doubting her sanity as well.

To sum it up, situation is a real event that, in most times, we have little or no control at all. Problem, on the other hand, is a mind-created concept that we use to label a situation that seriously inconveniences us.

So should we really problem our problem?

Based on the above scenario, to avoid getting the ill-effects of having problems, it’s more logical and more practical not to problem our problem and let our problem problem our problem.

But then again, you’re probably insane if you do not problem your problem. Which makes it a problem.