Results 1 to 8 of 8

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 5
    #1

    Is "answer a problem" incorrect?

    Is the following sentence strange?

    "This problem is too difficult to answer."

    It may sound much better to use "solve" instread of "answer" but I would like to know whether it is acceptable to use "answer".

  1. Soup's Avatar
    VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,882
    #2

    Re: Is "answer a problem" incorrect?

    Ex: "This problem/question is too difficult to answer."
    The noun problem is ambiguous. If it means question, as in a test question, then it works with either answer or solve.


    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 5
    #3

    Re: Is "answer a problem" incorrect?

    Dear Soup,
    Thank you for your response.
    You said, "The noun problem is ambiguous. If it means question, as in a test question, then it works with either answer or solve."

    Does that mean if "problem" doesn't mean something like a test question, using "answer" would sound unnatural? I've found an example on the net like--"The Bible Does Answer the Problem". In this example, the "problem" is not a test question. How can I interpret this example?

  2. Soup's Avatar
    VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,882
    #4

    Re: Is "answer a problem" incorrect?

    Quote Originally Posted by makiohashi View Post
    "The Bible Does Answer the Problem". In this example, the "problem" is not a test question. How can I interpret this example?
    It's OK. It means 'provides an answer/a solution'. Here's where is doesn't work.

    Max: I have a problem (at home).
    Sam: Can I help you answer it?
    Sam: Can I help you solve it?


    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 5
    #5

    Re: Is "answer a problem" incorrect?

    So whether you can use "answer" or "solve" depends on what you mean by "problem."--I got it. Thanks.

    Some teachers in Japan teach as if there is a rigid rule-- "answer" goes with "question", "solve" goes with "problem" with no exception but I was not really convinced.

    One more question. Is it OK to say "solve a question" in some situations or not?

  3. Soup's Avatar
    VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,882
    #6

    Re: Is "answer a problem" incorrect?

    Quote Originally Posted by makiohashi View Post
    One more question. Is it OK to say "solve a question" in some situations or not?
    Some people do say it and will continue to say it, but, again, it's solve-problem; answer-question. In that particular example, question is synonymous with problem.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,218
    #7

    Re: Is "answer a problem" incorrect?

    Isn't there an advertising slogan about "You have problems? We have answers!" - I'm not sure that that's an exact reproduction, but it's certainly used.

    I would only talk about "solving" a question if it was a question on an exam, especially a math exam, and not a real-life question.

    {not a teacher}

  5. Soup's Avatar
    VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,882
    #8

    Re: Is "answer a problem" incorrect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Isn't there an advertising slogan about "You have problems? We have answers!" - I'm not sure that that's an exact reproduction, but it's certainly used.

    I would only talk about "solving" a question if it was a question on an exam, especially a math exam, and not a real-life question.

    {not a teacher}
    Agreed.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 03-Jan-2008, 20:06
  2. is my sentence correct or incorrect
    By esophea in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 29-Nov-2006, 07:43
  3. quiz: correct or incorrect
    By fourmi in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 23-Nov-2006, 04:39
  4. Correct / Incorrect icons
    By VenusEnvy in forum Comments & Suggestions
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 23-Nov-2005, 00:25
  5. Sounds incorrect but, would someone tell me why please?
    By AleynDLester in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 29-Aug-2004, 18:35

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •