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Problem Questions: Vocabulary

Here are some groups of words that commonly occur in Problems, with examples. Here is some information about the way the information is shown.

Here are some groups of words that commonly occur in Problems, with examples from different disciplines. Click on Instructions for more information about the format.

The answer to a legal Problem Question is written as if you were giving legal advice to a client. The client may be a defendant (the person or company that is accused or who is responding to a complaint), or a plaintiff (the person or company that is making the accusation).

The usual structure is as follows:





The facts and circumstances provided in the problem question



Identification of the applicable point of law



Applications of the law likely to be raised by the opposition (Concessions)


Applications of the law that are likely to be  useful to the client. (The writer's main arguments)



Whether the client's case is likely to succeed or fail

The Analysis section is the most important part of the answer because it demonstrates that you know how to apply the law.

Some common word groups

natural justice Example
fair trial / hearing Example
fair-minded / impartial / independent / informed / objective  observer Example
the merits of the decision / case / claim Example
held that Example
argued that Example
held that vs. argued that Example
likely that Example
it is … likely that Example
(there was a) real possibility (of bias) Example

The tasks below will give you more information about the structure of Problem Questions.

Task 1

Look at the Sketch Engine listing for "argued that" and look at the way the sentences are structured. Drag the words around to make correct sentences.


Task 2

Look at the Sketch Engine listing for "a real possibility". You will see that two structures are possible: "a real possibility that ..." and "a real possibility of ...". Choose the correct form.


Task 3

Look at the Sketch Engine listing for "a real possibility" and "likely that". Choose the correct phrase for the sentences given.


Task 4

Two common phrases in Problem Questions are "argued that" and "held that". Can you tell the difference? Drag the sentences into the correct box to check.



This Sketch Engine seems to me does not work properly. While Cambridge Vocabulary and Sketsch Engine manages to find single word, both of them fails to find this phrases. Still doubtful whether I can use these phrases in relevant part of essays?

Hello farid007

I'm sorry about that. We will fix those links as soon as possible. Thanks for letting us know!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi.please help me to fill these words in their correct forms. 1.The new CEO of the compony has.........knowledge of the market after decades of being in the industry. 2.scientists warn that droughts and floods will become more common if we don't.........our efforts to prevent global warming. Thankyou

Hello Mohammad56,

Peter has already answered this same question on a different page. Please do not post your questions on more than one page. To complete these sentences, I'd suggest you look up 'intensify' and 'extend' in the dictionary - this should help you make a choice.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team