• The confusion has cleared.
  • The problem has solved.

Actually, I've looked up in many reputed dictionaries and haven't found any usage of "solve" and "clear" in the way in which these are used in the above sentences. But when I google these usages, I find many results on reputed websites using "solve" and "clear" in that way. This is what I found on Wikipedia:

After the confusion has cleared, the schoolmaster and Anton have an honest discussion.

I want to know whether these sentences are correct or not. If these are correct, why are these usages not in any dictionaries?
If these usages are incorrect, why are they being used commonly?

2 Answers 2


Your first sentence is possible, though doesn't sound very natural in my opinion.

The confusion has been cleared up

Using the phrasal verb clear up is better because it is clearer and sounds more natural. Additionally, it's much more natural to use the passive form here since we don't explain who (or how) the confusion has been cleared up.

Your second example is wrong. It lacks grammatical elements which are imperative to correct communication. The easiest way to resolve this problem is to use something like this:

The problem has been solved

Like before, we can use the passive here.

This may be why you struggled to get some help from dictionaries. Additionally, the verbs clear and solve have a variety of different meanings, but both the links above contain references to your examples (clear = v. tr. def. 3 & solve = v. tr. def. 1).

  • The links you've provided show the meaning of the verbs as transitive verbs, whereas in my sentences, those verbs are acting as intransitive verbs, aren't they? Moreover, the links have the usages: "Someone solves something." ; "Something solves something else." But they don't have the usages that I've asked: "Something solves." ; "Something has solved." ; "Something has cleared." ; "Something clears."
    – Gurpreet
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 2:42
  • Well, I tried to acknowledge that your first sentence is possible as it was written (intransitive), but the second is plain wrong. However, you could keep it in its' current structure by saying "The problem has solved itself".
    – JMB
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 8:00
  1. The confusion has cleared.

  2. The problem has solved.

There is nothing wrong with the sentence #1. You can use the verb "clear" transitively or intransitively.

Alternatively, you can also say:

The confusion has been cleared up or relieved.

As for the second sentence, it sounds incorrect grammatically. The word "solve" is a transitive verb. So the correct sentence is:

The problem has been solved. It's also correct to say "The problem has been cleared up".

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