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I read the following sentence:

We can defer a resolution, but not a decision.

...and I would like to know what the differences are between "decision" and "resolution" in that context.

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

A resolution would indicate that the problem is solved:

1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group.
(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/resolution)

A decision could be the same as a resolution (that is, it solves the problem) but it could also be just a plan to move forward. So, while they can mean the same thing, a decision has broader meaning than a resolution:

1. the act or process of deciding; determination, as of a question or doubt, by making a judgment: They must make a decision between these two contestants.
2. the act of or need for making up one's mind: This is a difficult decision. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/decision)

To bring it back to the question: a decision could be made to speak to an expert about the problem, do some further research, or to leave the problem for a few days. The resolution to the problem will be the final solution.

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In this context, a decision is the act of making up your mind. However, a resolution is:

a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group.

So once a group makes a decision, they can pass formal expression with a resolution. The sentence is saying that the group needs to make up its mind now, though they can release an official statement later.

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I seek psychological difference pertaing to self-control and pedagogical questions rather than economical and juridical ones. I suppose the difference isn't small from the introspectional point of view. The resolution is more fixed, more definitive and less alternative sentencesed than decision. Examples: I'm resolved to stop smoking or to leave this country (without stating where). I would say every resolution has a binary character: only two alternatives — action and non-action). If anybody "discovers" the concept of will to introduce it into the psychological theory of decision, he has to distinguish between decision and resolution without any doubt.

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