Difference between solve and resolve

Discussion in 'English Only' started by GDsLucy, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. GDsLucy New Member

    Germany / German
    Can anybody explain the difference between the two words to me? Do I solve or do I resolve a problem.
  2. shoal22 Member

    uk english
    solve a problem, mystery or murder
    resolve an argument
    both are from the same Latin root though.
  3. rogelio

    rogelio Senior Member

    Southeastern US
    USA - English
    it is hard to explain the difference. You "resolve your differences" but you "solve" a problem. Unless it is a personal problem which then may be "resolved".
    Make any sense?

    I really do hope that helps

  4. jacinta Senior Member

    USA English
    To resolve is used differently than solve. To resolve is used when there are (usually)two differing opinions and there needs to be a decision made between the two. As rogelio says, resolve is used mainly with an argument between two people.

    Resolve is also used as a noun. "He has a lot of resolve", meaning: you have a lot of determination or you have the ability to put your mind to something deliberately.

    To solve a problem means to find an answer using all the information provided and determining the answer. To solve the crime, the police used all the evidence they found in the apartment.
  5. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    I guess it's just like the difference between solution and resolution.
  6. cathy Member

    Australia - English
    to me, resolve gives the impression of a compromise. like jacinta said, if you have two differing opinions, and you resolve the argument, that could mean that the two people compromised rather than one or the other winning. There could be many ways to resolve an argument.

    so to resolve something you need to have some sort of conflicting options in the first place.

    interestingly, I wouldn't tend to use "resolution" in this situation. If my friend and I resolved our argument, I would still say that we found a solution to the argument! I don't know why, maybe because these days "resolution" is used more as a computer term?

    anyway, that's just my opinion!
  7. Morathi Member

    Bilbao, Spain
    Spain, Spanish
    I was thinking of using "resolve" in a sentence like this:
    In order to try to find an absolute measure of linguistic simplicity, we could look into sound systems and resolve that the fewer letters and the simpler syllabic structure a language has, the simpler its sound system is.

    Could I use resolve there? If not, which other verb would you recommend?

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