Which of these sentences is grammatically correct if we want to mean the reason problems exist is to be solved? I have trouble in terms of the usage in sentences of this kind.

  1. “Problems are for being solved”
  2. “Problems are for solving them”
  3. “Problems are for solving”
  4. “Problems are to be solved”
  5. “Problems are to solve them”
  6. “Problems are to solve”

My guess is either 1 or 2 is or both are correct.

1 Answer 1


“Problems are for being solved”

Right meaning, but a bit awkward because it sounds like the problems have got together, like little people, and are organising for us to solve them

“Problems are for solving them”

Sounds ungrammatical.

“Problems are for solving”

Fine and has intended meaning

“Problems are to be solved”

Close to the right meaning, but sounds more like an instruction (and a formal one too). For example, you could imagine a teacher might say this if they're telling the class to work hard this year.

“Problems are to solve them”


“Problems are to solve”


  • Thanks. Wouldn’t “Problems are for solving” be ungrammatical because “solve” is a transitive word. Doesn’t it require an object? Oct 29, 2020 at 22:55
  • 1
    I don't know the name of this form or why it works this way, but it does grammatically express the meaning you wanted Oct 31, 2020 at 0:36
  • Thank you. Another thing I don't understand: How does the first sentence I gave have the right meaning if it sounds like "the problems have got together, like little people, and are organising for us to solve them"? Oct 31, 2020 at 12:17
  • I should have said that I think anybody would understand it easily. It doesn't sound quite right. Generally, "x are for y" can mean "x are in favour of y" -- for example "Workers are for fair pay", or "Workers are for being paid fairly". If it's "x are for being y" in particular, it always means x wants y to happen to them now and in the future (I can't think of a case where it does not, anyway). "Food is for eating" on the other hand, is perfectly grammatical, means that the purpose of food is to be eaten, and does not sound like the food is in favour of being eaten. Nov 1, 2020 at 13:57

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