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I would like to ask you if the expression "problems crop up" is ever used by native speakers or if it's some kind of an archaism. Whilst being quite a nice expression, I have never heard it before.

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    Have you looked on Google or Google Ngrams, Webster? It's a bit like school here - you get help if you still need it (and if teacher can help) when you've had a go yourself. Though I can't not quote 'Sewage problems crop up on Toytown Road in Croghan'. Jun 10, 2014 at 8:54
  • If you've never heard it before, how can you suggest it? Did you reaad this somewhere? If so, can you give the full sentence?
    – Mitch
    Jun 10, 2014 at 11:24
  • Thank you for your answers. I have actually tried to look it up in several online dictionaries and I didn't get a definite answer. That's why I'm asking here. I have encountered this expression in a material that my teacher gave me and I was just wondering if it's normally used.
    – ondrejba
    Jun 10, 2014 at 19:14

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I agree, it’s a nice expression. It’s fine to use in American English too. Like many phrasal verbs, crop up is not particularly formal – a Latinate synonym could be accumulate. Think of weeds sprouting up in a field that need to be pulled out periodically.

Rupe is right that not only problems crop up. Usually, however, the thing that crops up is negative. Below are some examples from different contexts.

“In many ways the faith-based initiatives are merely a continuation of the battles over religion and politics that crop up from time to time in American history.” (Rebecca Sager, Faith, Politics and Power: The politics of faith-based initiatives, pp. 48-9)

Injuries crop up for No. 23 Texas” (headline – the team lost 2 out of 3 games due to a series of injuries to key players)

“More security issues crop up for UEFI” (headline for a post that begins: “About half the computers employing the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) boot sequence are vulnerable to rootkits because of firmware installation failure by manufacturers and an indeterminate number can be ‘bricked’ through the operating system, according to security research from the nonprofit organization Mitre.” Issues here is a synonym for problems.)

Finally, when crop up appears in headlines and the news story has something to do with farming or food, there’s often a pun involved.

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It is definitely used and is in no way archaic (at least in British English). You could say 'problems arise' if you are not confident to use the phrase because it means the same thing.

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  • Also worth mentioning that there's nothing special about "problems". All sorts of things can "crop up".
    – Rupe
    Jun 10, 2014 at 12:13
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Yes used all the time in Britain. Good as an excuse eg...."sorry I can't come to your party, something has cropped up"

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