Is it appropriate to ask questions about apparent errors in textbook answer keys?

I understand that these are sometimes quite narrow, but as often as not it may be the case that there is no error, and that the perception of one is an opportunity to expose some deeper concept.

Of course, an attempt should clearly be made to locate any corrections to the apparent error that might be available before asking.

  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Nothing wrong with: "Here's problem X from book Y. Here's what I did: [...] However, the answer key says Z. I checked for errata and did not find any on the web. Did I make a mistake in my solution?" $\endgroup$ Sep 17, 2011 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ I think this is an excellent kind of question. $\endgroup$ May 5, 2013 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


I personally don't see why not.

If a student is asking such a question, it means they must have tried to solve it for themselves and are currently stuck. They don't see where their error is (and often times rightfully so) and they begin to doubt the textbook. Usually I would encourage students in such a situation, and try to answer their questions. (as opposed to the homework questions where no work has been attempted.)


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