Recently I've been asked to edit a text and there I observed a phrase that could be simplified to: "Against young professionals trying to find a job in [certain profession], there are two obstructions ...". Alternatively, we discussed a version ending with "... are two obstructions" (without "there").

The "obstruction against [something]" part seemed weird to me, and to prove or disprove my gut feeling I did the following:

  • Checked usages of the word "obstruction" in several major dictionaries (no usages with "against")
  • Looked up "an obstruction against" and "an obstacle against" in Google (very few results, absolute majority of which from non-English websites)

Even though the above might seem like a sufficient proof of the wording being incorrect, I, being a non-native English speaker, decided to check it here, just to be extra sure.

Is "obstruction against something" grammatically correct? What about the whole phrasing I presented above? If not, how could the same meaning be conveyed in a grammatically correct fashion?

  • 2
    I'm happier with 'obstacles to ...'. 'An obstruction to ...' is also idiomatic. Dec 12, 2020 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


You are probably right in frowning a bit at obstructions, because it is more seldom used than obstacles, as you can check here

As for the grammaticality of your sentence, I think it is not incorrect. However, it might read better if you express it in this way:

There are two obstacles against young professionals trying to find a job in this field.

I do not know the rest of your sentence, but I am sure that one can find a way to fit this sentence in without a problem.

  • 1
    obstacles to or obstacles against? +1 for the answer
    – user405662
    Dec 13, 2020 at 12:37
  • 1
    I guess both are correct, but in my non-native mind obstacles against someone doing something sounded more clear and unambiguous. I would definitely say "This addiction is an obstacle to your career/progress/etc." thank you for the upvote.
    – fev
    Dec 13, 2020 at 12:44

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