Monday, August 18, 2008

Do you "take a decision", "make a decision", or decide?

Well, I've heard English spoken in India, the United States, the U.K. and New Zealand. I've heard all three forms being used. Now I'm no grammar nazi nor am I a grammar expert, but which one is correct english? According to Google, all three. General opinion seems to be that "make a decision" is heard more in American English and "take a decision" in British English ("decide" is used across the board). However, "take a decision" is definitely the most rare of the three.

I also came across a Grammarphobia blog entry that seems to prefer "make a decision".

Here's my take on all three used in a simple question:
  1. "Why don't you take a decision?"
  2. "Why don't you make a decision?"
  3. "Why don't you decide?"

  1. This does not sound logical to me. Unless I'm wrong, you can only take something that's been created or conceived of already. A decision does not exist until you create it by deciding, so how can you take it? This only makes sense if someone has already made the decision for you and you're taking the decision and going with it. But "take a decision"? Doesn't sound right. I could definitely see it being used in corporate circles, but I do not agree with its usage.
  2. Implies you're the person who's going to weigh the options and create a course of action based on what you see. That sounds a little better to me.
  3. Pretty much the same as 2, but in my opinion, is more efficient because you're saying more in less words.

I wouldn't take a decision. I wouldn't make a decision. I would decide.

Tense and other factors can definitely affect which of these three are preferable. I only question them in their current form.

1 comment:

larry said...

decide is best because it is "fewer" not "less" words