idioms: to deal with (something)


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Today’s phrase is to deal with.

The government proposed a treaty designed to deal with the problem of global warming.

There is far more information available today than people can deal with

To deal with.


To deal with something means to do something, to take action to achieve something. We often talk about dealing with problems, issues, or concerns. For example, many business people need to learn to deal with stress. They need to learn to do something to help them manage their stress so it isn’t a problem for them anymore.

To deal with something can also mean to be about something. For example, this website deals with English. It’s about English.

You can also say “to deal with someone.” To deal with someone means to talk to a person about something. It’s usually something unpleasant or difficult. For example, public relations specialists deal with dissatisfied customers. Or, a manager may need to deal with an employee who is unpleasant or who’s doing a very bad job.

Authentic example

Today’s authentic example is from the BBC Online:

[Bill Thompson says:]

Speaking at the RSA Security conference last week, [Bill] Gates admitted that Microsoft has ‘an overly complex system today’, and promised a simpler, easier and safer model for future Windows users.

It’s a compelling vision, and since I’ve argued repeatedly that we need to deal with the problem of how we tie our real-world identities to our online activities, I have to support Microsoft’s new-found interest in the issue.

That wraps up this edition of two-minute English. We’ll see you next time here at Better at English dot com.

Look up to deal with in the dictionary.

See how to deal with is used.