Find a solution to / for a problem

tkleoz

Senior Member
Spanish- Spain
Hi everyone!
A very simple question: Which is correct
-find a solution to a problem
or
-find a solution for a problem
Cheers!
 
  • aztlaniano

    Senior Member
    English (Aztlán, US sector)

    Trailbosstom

    Senior Member
    American English
    I say use "to!" There are a number of nouns that take "to" as a preposition:
    injury to, key to, answer to, damage to, solution to, claim to.
    They don't sound right at all with "for" despite the weird Macmillan example (The Longman link shows only "to.")
    The answer for your question? No. We need a more permanent solution for our problem? No. Where are the keys for my car? No.
    His claim for the throne was unrecognized. No.
    "Of" is even worse.

    Memorize these five: injury, key, answer, solution, damage, claim--and use "to."
     

    Mimsi

    Member
    English - Canada & US
    I say use "to!" There are a number of nouns that take "to" as a preposition:
    injury to, key to, answer to, damage to, solution to, claim to.
    They don't sound right at all with "for" despite the weird Macmillan example (The Longman link shows only "to.")
    The answer for your question? No. We need a more permanent solution for our problem? No. Where are the keys for my car? No.
    His claim for the throne was unrecognized. No.
    "Of" is even worse.

    Memorize these five: injury, key, answer, solution, damage, claim--and use "to."
    I agree that "The answer for your question" sounds unusual. But "We need a more permanent solution for our problem?" and "Where are the keys for my car?" are acceptable. I wouldn't think twice if I heard it phrased this way. I'm actually pretty sure I sometimes even say "I can't find the keys for my car" (Although more often I would just say "car keys", bypassing the preposition altogether.)
     

    daniar

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Thank you, everyone. And here we go again, disagreeing...:confused::p.I'm sorry but if if two internationally recognized dictionaries show two prepositions-to and for-as possible, I simply accept it. I've certainly heard 'the keys for my car' said by natives:eek:. Trailbosstom, I agree 'solution' is most commonly used with 'to', but in my opinion we shouldn't rule out other possibilities, especially when it comes to prepositions :)! I see Mimsi's comment shows my answer is correct.;)
    This is what I've found in the Macmillan Dictionary http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/solution#solution__6:

    'Get It Right!: solution

    The usual preposition to use with solution is to,not of:

    ✗ The role of the government is to find the solution of this problem.

    ✓ The role of the government is to find the solution to this problem.

    You can also use for, but this is much less common:

    To find the best solutions for managing waste, all these options have to be considered.

    The preposition of is used with solution mainly in technical contexts, when it refers to a liquid with another substance dissolved in it:

    The containers are cleaned with a weak solution of caustic soda.'

    PS. I think we can find answers to (not for :p) many of our questions in dictionaries. After all, they're created by top linguistics who encounter grammar /lexical/spelling errors on a daily basis and therefore know what to emphasize in their dictionaries. I should have taken my own advice before asking whether 'of' is an option .:D:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited:

    MamáDeNora

    New Member
    English--American
    Hi,

    I'm a native speaker of English. It's true that experienced linguists create dictionaries, and they are so useful. It can be helpful to know what sounds weird, though. I agree with Mimsi's response above, since that's exactly what I would have said. I would know what someone meant by "the answer for your question" but I think I'd look at them a little funny while it clicked.
     
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