Resolve vs. Solve – Here’s The Correct Usage (+14 Examples)

While both “solve” and “resolve” have similar spellings, the prefix “re-” plays a very important part in differentiating the two words. Let’s look at the differences between the two, as well as the correct ways to use them.

What Is The Difference Between Resolve And Solve?

Resolve should be used when you deal with a situation conclusively. It means you have no further need for an outcome, and the matter is closed. Solve should be used when you find a solution for a problem and deal with it successfully. Resolve doesn’t always mean success.

What Is The Difference Between Resolve And Solve?
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Are Resolve And Solve The Same?

Resolve and solve do not mean the same thing, though there is a similar connection between the two that does confuse learners.

Resolve as a verb has many meanings, all of which involve concluding a situation. The situation doesn’t have to be concluded in a way that anybody agrees with. Solve as a verb means that a solution was found successfully, and people are usually happy about it.

You might want to differentiate between the two in a more straightforward manner to help with your understanding of the sentence. If the outcome is solved, you found a solution (it could have been the only one or one of a few), and no more needs to be done. If the outcome is resolved, it means an agreement or arrangement was made to conclude the situation.

Does Resolve Mean Fixed?

While “solve” is somewhat synonymous with “fixed,” “resolve” is not. We don’t assume that something is “fixed” when we resolve it. The reason being is because “resolve” can simply mean that the situation has been moved on to something new.

If we “resolve” a situation, we’re not looking for a way to fix it. We’re instead finding common ground that will allow us to move forward with whatever comes after the situation once it’s resolved.

As we’ve stated, a solution is only found when we “solve” or “fix” something, which is the only time we use it.

What Does It Mean To Resolve An Issue?

When we resolve an issue, we’ve simply found a way to move past it without further discussion. This could be due to a vote, an action, or a debate that sorted a problem out. Once the issue is resolved, it is complete. Nothing more needs to be mentioned about the issue, and you can move on to the next topic.

Resolve is used a lot in a business format, where an issue might be raised with a manager. It’s then up to the manager to resolve that issue, either by discussing with the individuals involved or holding a vote about the desired outcome. The outcome generally won’t please everybody.

The Several Meanings Of Resolve

Let’s look at the meanings of “resolve” and when we might want to use it.

  • As a noun

When used in this sense, it means someone has a firm intention. “A gentleman’s resolve.”

  • Decide a course of action due to a vote.

Here, people will hold a vote to see what the outcome of a situation will be. A vote is democratic but doesn’t always please every participant.

  • Break into elements and analyze

This is a less common meaning for the verb, but when we break a situation down to try and figure out our next step, we resolve it.

  • To bring to a conclusion.

The conclusion doesn’t have to be agreed upon or popular. The final say is up to the most influential figure.

  • To find a solution.

While the solution isn’t always agreed upon, we “resolve” something by completing it and moving on. This means that we have “solved” it in a roundabout way.

The final meaning of “resolve” is the closest to “solve” and explains why so many people get confused between the two. However, typically with “solve,” the outcome is expected and satisfying, while with “resolve,” it might not be.

7 Examples Of How To Use “Resolve” In A Sentence

Let’s see how to use “resolve” in a sentence so you can start understanding the context of it.

  1. Have you resolved the issue I raised with you earlier?
  2. You have a lot of resolve for a man that doesn’t know how to tie his shoelaces!
  3. I need you to resolve these emails for me. Just tell them we can’t help them.
  4. We have to resolve this issue before it is brought in front of our boss!
  5. He is resolving the documents we left on his counter. Hopefully, he’ll know what to do.
  6. We need to have a meeting to resolve the spat between the two of you.
  7. You have to resolve these emotions before we can move on.

7 Examples Of How To Use “Solve” In A Sentence

Now, let’s look at how we might use “solve” in a different way. Remember, we’re looking for the solution for something here, and it’s often a lot more obvious than resolving something.

  1. I solved my Rubik’s Cube in two minutes.
  2. I’ve solved the problems you had with your computer.
  3. I need you to solve the issues on my account before I log in again.
  4. Have you solved the mathematics problems for your homework assignment?
  5. Let me know when you’ve solved the problem!
  6. My plumber solved the issue in my toilet.
  7. I can’t believe you solved my back pain so fast! I’m as good as new!

Quiz: Have You Mastered The Resolve Vs Solve Grammar?

Let’s finish with a quiz to see what you’ve learned from this article. Make sure you read through each question carefully before committing to your answer! You don’t want to misread it and get it wrong! The answers are at the end.

  1. We need to discuss a way to (A. resolve / B. solve) your situation.
  2. I want the therapist to (A. resolve / B. solve) my phobia, but that might be asking a lot!
  3. I need to (A. resolve / B. solve) this equation before him.
  4. I want to (A. resolve / B. solve) our problems now rather than later.
  5. Can we talk about what we need to (A. resolve / B. solve)?

Quiz Answers

  1. A
  2. B
  3. B
  4. A
  5. A

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