No ‘problems’ only ‘solutions’

July 20, 2013 § 1 Comment

For years the word ‘solutions’ has been in vogue. People offer all sorts of ‘solutions’, fostering, cleaning, and plumbing.

One of Crouch End’s supermarkets offers ‘ready meal solutions’. Is ‘ready meal solutions’ the right phrase? The word ‘solution’ according to my Concise Oxford Dictionary (2006) is a means of solving a problem/a correct answer to a puzzle.

‘Ready meals’ are not the ‘problem’, but the bother of making your own dinner is. A dinner might generate three hours of work (wash-up, done by hand). So wouldn’t it be better to entitle that part of the aisle: ‘dinner solutions’. At least the right problem (of making your dinner) is implied. Better still, the word ‘solutions’ could be replaced by ‘selection of’. We would read ‘selection of ready meals’. It does not have the same ring, at all, of ‘ready meal solutions’ but it would be more accurate.

The word ‘solutions’ sounds scientific. Has the person, providing the ‘solutions’, only arrived at them after many hours of experimentation in a laboratory? The word ‘solutions’ implies a problem that cannot be diagnosed at a glance. But many of them can be.

Earlier this year, a letter from a school noted that ‘storage solutions’ were needed. Years ago the school would have been quite content to write about not having enough space to store musical instruments.


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§ One Response to No ‘problems’ only ‘solutions’

  • Phil Spink says:

    Line 8 in piece above – no doubt this is the nth time ‘aisle’ has been suggested. But why not correct it?

    Also, what about ‘delivering solutions’ – from some ‘workshop’ maybe?

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