Interested in Language
can you explain me the difference between a jigsaw puzzle and a puzzle? Are they the same thing?
How come this word "jigsaw" before puzzle?
What does it go back to? Does it mean anything in particular if we don't associate it with the word "puzzle"?
Thank you very much.
Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.
In many languages the thing that is known in BrE as a 'jigsaw (puzzle)' is simply a 'puzzle'. 'Puzzle' has a much wider meaning in English.
It's called a jigsaw puzzle because the pieces are cut out using a jigsaw. See here: jigsaw noun (TOOL) - definition in British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionary Online
Do you use "jigsaw puzzle" in American English too? or simply puzzle?
"Jigsaw puzzle" is used in Ame, but the "jigsaw" can be omitted if it's clear. As was said above "puzzle" has a wider meaning than just pieces that you put together to form a picture.
My younger daughter and I both have a love for jigsaw puzzles and for logic puzzles.
If she is standing over the card table where we are working on our jigsaw puzzle, and she says "You made some progress on the puzzle." I am not confused. If I'm working with a pencil and some paper, and she says "I had a hard time solving that puzzle," I am not confused. If she simply announces "I am bringing home a new puzzle for us to solve" I won't know what she means until she gets there.
Context is everything!
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
If someone simply said "I am doing a puzzle" and there was no other context I would have no idea if they meant a jigsaw puzzle, a crossword puzzle, Sudoku, a lateral thinking question or even a physical puzzle (ie the small plastic square where you move numbers around until they are in the right order).
In BrE, we usually just say "jigsaw" without "puzzle" if it's clear we are not talking about the piece of woodworking equipment.
Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.