I was writing on LangCorrect, and received the following feedback:

A sentence of my writing: 但是他有些法律上的问题,我也不太熟悉法律,所以不知道怎么办。

Feedback: 他有些法律上的问题 means he has some questions on some legal matters, not sure if that is what you want to say.

That's not what I want to say, I want to say "he has some legal problems" (as in, he is in trouble because of some legal issue). I'm writing from a woman's perspective: she's complaining about her husband having legal problems.

Obviously the problem (no pun intended) stems from the word

CC-CEDICT: 问题 (wèn​tí​) question / problem / issue / topic / CL: 個|个

meaning both "question" and "problem". Honestly, I flat-out don't know how to fix this.

Question: If 他有些法律上的问题 means "he has some legal questions", how do I say "he has some legal problems"?

5 Answers 5


Quote:- "...how do I say "he has some legal problems"?

Yes, in both English & Chinese, "question" and "problem" could, (in the absence of context or clarifying words), have the same semantic connotation.

I believe the whole "semantic problem" stems from the social embarrassment of being known that one has run afoul of the law, even if the offense is not of a serious nature.

Thus people tend to hide this embarrassing fact by saying, euphemistically, "I have a legal question", (我有些法律上的问题), which, in both languages, is ambiguous enough to mean one of two possible meanings.

Thus if one wants to say, and mean, someone has committed a legal offense and thus have a "legal problem", (and not having a question / problem which requires a mere expert legal opinion only), then say, "他有些触犯法律的问题", "Tā yǒu xiē Chù fàn fǎ lǜ de wèn tí"


The sentence is ambiguous if without a context.

For example: 这家公司有些法律上的问题 is usually perceived as "This company has some legal problems". While 这个学生有些法律上的问题 is usually perceived as "This student has some legal questions."


Besides '问题', 'problem' can be translated as '麻烦' which also contains the meaning of 'trouble'

他有些法律上的问题 = he has some legal questions

他有些法律上的麻烦 = he has some legal problems (troubles)


Paraphrase 'legal problems' as 'judicial matters' maybe?

She has some judicial matters to clear up first.


"他有些法律上的问题", additional information is required to clarify whether it means "he has some legal questions", or "he has some legal problems".

For the former, it is more clear to say "他有些法律上的问题(questions)要請教你(need your advice)"

For the latter, you might say "他的作法有法律上的问题" (What he did has legal problem), or "他的行為(動)有法律上的问题" (His behave/action has legal problem).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.