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Why does "issue" have a negative connotation in the US?

I have used issue as a synonym of tema in Spanish.

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Words tend to take on new connotations over time. How this happens is anyone's guess. The negative connotation associated with "issue" is relatively new, I suspect. "Issue" is a sort of code, or shorthand, for mental problems, neuroses, phobias, hang-ups, baggage--all negative concepts. When someone observes, "Oh, him . . ., he has issues!" you can be pretty sure the observer is implying a negative criticism. I predict the use of the word "issues" in this way will fall out of favor soon, only to be replaced with a different code word. And so it goes. –  rhetorician May 7 '13 at 17:35
    
I'm trying to visualise various synomimes. –  Edwin Ashworth May 7 '13 at 18:29
    
It may be a fact but you have not substantiated your assumption that issue has negative connotations, perhaps in the US. What are the sources? Or is it only your observation? –  Kris Jun 14 '13 at 8:35
    
Include the query in the body of the question. –  Kris Jun 14 '13 at 8:36
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2 Answers

I am not aware of any distinction between British and American English when it comes to the word issue. But it is probably worth noting here that issue can have various meanings, depending on the context. Some examples:

  • In a continued series of booklets such as newspapers or magazines issue refers to a specific volume, e.g. The New York Times issue 6/14/2013.

  • When you have a topic/concern/question to discuss with someone, you approach her with your issue.

  • In case you are in dispute with someone, you have an issue with him.

So you see that issue can mean topic in some contexts (2nd example) and have a negative connotation in others (3rd example).

Getting from the 2nd to the 3rd example by saying that the concern may be controversial justifies the (partially) negative connotation.

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For me it's a synonym of tema ("topic"), but you must know that a better synonym could be trouble or problem, something that isn't really okay, a controversial topic maybe, but not any topic. For that reason the word issue has a negative connotation and it doesn't happen just in US, it's a common thing for English speakers.

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I really appreciate if the person how vote down, tell me why, it's really important for me in order to improve. Thanks! –  Castiblanco May 7 '13 at 17:51
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Sorry - took me a while to type this . . . While "issue" can have a negative connotation in certain contexts, I would not say that the OP must know that "trouble" or "problem" is a better synonym . . . just two other synonyms that in other specific contexts, might be better suited for the OP's meaning. The OP did not give us the context other than a similarly meaning Spanish word which you translated as "topic". "Topic" is as good a synonym for "issue" as the others, given the correct context. –  Kristina Lopez May 7 '13 at 17:52
    
"synonymic" -- an adjective, isn't it? –  David Aldridge May 7 '13 at 21:59
    
Thank you all for your comments! –  Natalia May 9 '13 at 16:37
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This answer hasn't explained anything. It's circular reasoning. You simply say that issue has a negative connotation because it has a negative connotation. That is not helpful at all. −1 from me as well. That issue means "trouble, problem" can be looked up in any dictionary, so that is not the question here. The question here is, why does it mean that. –  RegDwigнt Jun 14 '13 at 10:41
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