Word Formation: Solve vs Solution

It’s important to understand the nuances between similar words that may seem interchangeable at first glance. Two such words in English that often cause confusion are “solve” and “solution.” While they are related, they are used differently.

The word “solve” means to find a solution to a problem or to resolve a puzzle or mystery. It refers to the act of figuring something out, often through critical thinking or analysis. For example, “I was able to solve the math problem.”

On the other hand, “solution” refers to the answer or outcome of the problem-solving process. It is the resolution or answer to the problem that has been solved. For example, “The solution to the math problem was 6.”

To put it simply, “solve” is the action of finding an answer, while “solution” is the answer itself. Here are some more examples to help you understand the difference:

  • I need to solve this Rubik’s cube. (meaning: I need to figure out the correct sequence of moves to solve the puzzle)
  • The solution to the Rubik’s cube is to match each side’s color. (meaning: the answer or outcome of solving the Rubik’s cube is to have each side matching in color)
  • We need to solve the issue of traffic congestion in the city. (meaning: we need to find a way to resolve the problem of traffic congestion)
  • The solution to the traffic congestion problem could be building more public transportation. (meaning: the answer or outcome of solving the traffic congestion issue could be building more public transportation)

Keep practicing and you’ll soon master the subtleties of the English language! And the following quiz will help you!


Word Formation: Solve

Fill in the gaps with either “solve” or “solution” in the correct form

1 / 10

She was able to _____ the difficult math problem by breaking it down into smaller parts.

2 / 10

We need  _____ the issue of employee morale before it starts affecting productivity.

3 / 10

The detectives worked tirelessly to _____ the mystery of the missing jewels.

4 / 10

The _____ to the mystery was found when one of the suspects confessed to the crime.

5 / 10

The _____ to the computer glitch was a simple restart of the system.

6 / 10

He spent all night trying  _____ the computer glitch before finally calling for technical support.

7 / 10

We need  _____ the problem of the leaky faucet before it causes more damage.

8 / 10

A temporary _____ to the leaky faucet is to place a bucket underneath it.

9 / 10

The _____ to the puzzle was surprisingly simple once I looked at it from a different angle.

10 / 10

Can you _____ this puzzle for me? I've been trying to figure it out for hours.

Your score is

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For almost 20 years I have been helping adult learners speak English, which for most of them was not only a learning challenge, but also a path to discover their potential and to believe in their abilities. It has also been a 20 year long journey for me to discover myself and my place in this world, for which I am sincerely grateful to my dear students.Read more

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