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Motion vs. Resolution: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 30, 2023
A motion is a formal proposal for action in a meeting or assembly, whereas a resolution is a firm decision or an official statement of opinion adopted by a vote.

Key Differences

A motion is a formal suggestion or proposal made during a meeting or legislative session. It's put forward for debate and voting. A resolution, on the other hand, is the outcome of that voting process, often resulting in an official statement or decision.
Motions are the starting point of any decision-making process in a formal setting. They initiate discussion and lead to a conclusion. Resolutions represent the conclusion itself, embodying the final decision made by the voting body.
The purpose of a motion is to bring a particular issue to the attention of a group and suggest a course of action. Resolutions serve to formally document the agreed-upon course of action or opinion after the discussion and voting.
In a legislative context, motions are made by members to propose something for consideration. Resolutions are the end product, often drafted as formal documents that reflect the collective agreement or opinion.
The life cycle of a motion involves being raised, debated, and then voted upon. A resolution, in contrast, is typically announced and recorded after the vote, signifying a binding decision or formal statement.

Comparison Chart


A formal proposal for action or decision
An official decision or opinion adopted by a vote

Stage in Process

Beginning of decision-making process
Conclusion of decision-making process


To initiate discussion and suggest action
To document and formalize the agreed-upon action


Raised and debated in meetings or assemblies
Announced and recorded after voting


Leads to a vote or further discussion
Represents a binding decision or formal agreement

Motion and Resolution Definitions


The act of proposing something for discussion.
The motion for a new committee was debated thoroughly.


The outcome of a vote or discussion.
The resolution of the issue came after intense debate.


Initiation of a voting process in an assembly.
A motion was put forward to elect a new chairperson.


A formal decision made by a group.
The resolution to amend the bylaws was passed.


A formal proposal made in a meeting.
He made a motion to adjourn the meeting early.


A binding agreement within an organization.
The board's resolution set the course for the year.


A suggestion for action or decision.
Her motion to increase the budget was accepted.


Documentation of a collective decision.
The resolution was recorded in the meeting minutes.


A proposal for consideration by a group.
The board considered his motion for policy changes.


An official statement of opinion or policy.
The council issued a resolution condemning the act.


The act or process of changing position or place.


The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination
Faced the situation with resolution.


A firm decision to do something
Made a resolution to get more exercise.


Can anyone propose a motion?

In formal settings, typically only members of the group can propose motions.

Are resolutions always written?

Typically, yes, resolutions are documented in written form.

Can a resolution be changed?

Yes, but it often requires another formal process or vote.

Can resolutions affect policy?

Yes, especially in governmental or organizational contexts.

Who can vote on a resolution?

Usually, members of the group or assembly can vote.

Can a motion be informal?

In casual settings, motions can be less formal.

Are all motions debatable?

Most are, but some procedural motions may not be.

Do resolutions have legal standing?

In some contexts, such as legislative bodies, they do.

Can a motion be withdrawn?

Yes, typically before it's voted on or fully discussed.

Are all resolutions final?

They are considered final but can be revisited or amended later.

Is every resolution based on a motion?

Typically, yes, most resolutions originate from motions.

Is a motion always followed by a resolution?

Not always, a motion may be rejected and not lead to a resolution.

Does a motion require a vote?

Yes, motions are generally put to a vote for decision-making.

Are resolutions public records?

In many organizations, yes, especially in governmental bodies.

Does a motion need a second?

In many formal settings, yes, a motion needs to be seconded.

Can a motion be amended?

Yes, motions can be amended before being voted on.

Is a motion a binding decision?

No, it's a proposal. The resolution is the binding decision.

Are resolutions always unanimous?

No, resolutions can pass with a majority or specific quorum.

Can a resolution be symbolic?

Yes, some resolutions are symbolic statements without binding effects.

Do motions require detailed explanations?

Generally, some explanation or rationale is provided.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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