Hello English learners!
This post is going to discuss the difference between solution to and solution for
Once again, the difference in the phrase is centered around the prepositions.
If we understand the preposition behind the word we can unlock the mystery behind the phrase.
Let’s focus on the prepositions!
I often need to explain the word to to my students.
If you can remember that the word to means movement, then you will be able to use this confusing preposition correctly.
Here are some examples:
- I am going to the store. (Go will always have to after it) There is movement in this sentence so we need to use the word to.
- I talked to your mother yesterday. (The words that I said, moved from my mouth to someone else’s ears).
- We drove to the beach on the weekend. (Physical movement is happening in this sentence)
- She listened to the advice that her friend gave her. (The words are moving from one person to another)
Now let’s look at the preposition for.
A quick and easy way to know when to use for is to think about presents.
If you are giving a type of present to someone then use the preposition for.
We can also think of this as transfer of an object. An object moves from one person to another and if you are the person transferring this object then use for.
Here are some examples to help clear up this concept:
- I have a gift for you. (You are giving a present to someone)
- Students, I have a homework assignment for you. (I know, this is not really a present, but a type of gift is being given to the students. Gifts can be bad, like homework and fruitcake)
- Mary has some information for you. (There is some information being passed from one person to another)
Now, let’s look at the difference between solution to and solution for.
In English, we generally say solution to a problem.
Going back to our definition of giving a present or a gift when using for, it doesn’t make sense to give a gift to a problem since a problem is not a living thing.
- After hours of working, she found the solution to the math problem.
- The mechanic found a solution to the car’s over-heating issue.
When a solution is found for an organism we use solution for.
- They found a solution for their neighbors.
- The doctor found a solution for the patient.
If you consider the thing to be a living organism like in some cases a company or a city you can use solution for.
- The new accountant found a solution to the company’s financial problem.
- The city contracted new engineers to find a solution for the traffic problem in the city. (Here we treat the traffic like a moving and living organism)
In conclusion, if the object is static and does not move or you not consider it to be a living organism then use solution to, otherwise use solution for.
Comment in the box below. Did this post help you?
How many sentences can you come up with using solution to and solution for?
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