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Common errors > face  verb [T]

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Incorrect or non-standard usage, overuse etc.

In my job I have to face many different people.

The problem

Collocation and usage.
Students frequently use face when they should use deal with.

Standard English

Basic meanings

confront, deal with, accept

Common collocates and phrases

face a problem (deal with)

We had to face the problem of how to reduce the price..

face a difficulty (deal with)
We've faced a number of difficulties in this project that we didn't expect.

face a person (confront )
I don't know how I'm going to face David. (I've just crashed his car)

face reality (accept)
You need to face reality - you're not getting any younger!

face the facts (accept)
We need to face the facts - sales have fallen by twenty five percent.

deal with is often the appropriate word to use.

However, note that deal with has different shades of meaning. Among them:

(1) deal with a problem - cope with / accept / find a solution to
She's had to deal with losing her father

(2) deal with a person - have contact / interaction with

In the original example we need (2) :

In my job I have to deal with many different people.
Do you have much experience of dealing with the public?

NB 'deal with (a person)' could mean something more sinister if you saw the person as a problem:

'What about Big Tony? He knows too much already.'
'Yeah. We'd better deal with him.'

(Fortunately, you're only likely to hear this in movies.)

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