I have been searching for hours in Google about the difference between the two words "decision" and "resolution". I found multiple and different answers, including a "decision" resulting from the choice of one person and a "resolution" resulting from the choice of several people. And there was another answer saying that a "resolution" is more formal than a "decision'... I want someone to tell me what is the difference between a "decision" and a "resolution" .


3 Answers 3


I think the existing answers are each partially right, so I'm going to write my own to be more complete.

A "decision" is a choice between options. Perhaps trivial, like "should I eat a sandwich or should I eat a salad?", perhaps more serious, like, "should we declare war or not?"

There are two potentially relevant definitions of "resolution".

One is a commitment to a decision. Like in the US there's something of a tradition of "New Year's resolutions", where a person commits to following through on some good thing he has decided to do. Like, he "resolves" that he will go on a healthy diet, or quit smoking, or whatever.

That is, you could make a decision but not really have any resolution behind it. Like, "I really think I should go on a diet." You could make a decision that you have no power to carry out at all. Like, "I've decided that Congress should balance the budget." Well good for you, but unless you're a member of Congress there's nothing you can do about it.

The other is that voting bodies will pass a statement affirming something. Like, "Congress passed a resolution praising Sergeant Jones for his heroism". The difference between "passing a law" and "passing a resolution" is that a resolution typically has no effect other than to express the opinion of the voting body. If they pass a law saying citizens should wear blue shirts, then presumably anyone who doesn't wear a blue shirt can be fined or jailed. But if they pass a resolution saying citizens should wear blue shirts, there's no force of law behind it, there's no penalty if someone doesn't do it, they're just expressing an opinion.

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    @QuackE.Duck Yes. I went back and added that paragraph for clarification, and clearly I added it in the wrong place. Thanks.
    – Jay
    Jul 11, 2023 at 20:34

They are certainly related, but not the same. A decision normally comes first, then a resolution formalises the decision. A 'resolution' can also refer to a document that may detail a decision and also how it will be taken forward. Some decisions may not require a resolution, especially if the decision is to take no action.

  • A decision can be made by a group as well as an individual.
  • A resolution is the formalisation of a decision. For example, a formally convened group or body may reach a decision, and then put that decision forward formally as a written resolution.
  • An individual can still 'resolve' to do something - for example, a 'new year's resolution'
  • Note that the US Supreme Court calls their formal document a decision.
    – Barmar
    Jul 11, 2023 at 14:27

There's many meanings of "resolution", but for this answer, I'm assuming you only mean the one that's most similar to "decision".

Merriam-Webster's definition that applies here:

4 : a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent voted by an official body or assembled group

So, when a group together formally makes a decision by vote, that decision is called a "resolution". This means a resolution is a special type of decision, so a resolution can later be referred to as a "decision" and it's still correct.

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