Friday, January 28, 2011

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

Do you "take" or "make" a decision?
Tim North,

A friend e-mailed me recently and asked why some people write (and say) "take a decision" instead of "make a decision".

Being a good friend, he researched his own answer before I got around to replying. :-)  His investigation suggested that "take a decision" is primarily British usage, whereas "make a decision" is more common in the US.

A 'net denizen named "Trocco" provided the following insightful comment:

I was also surprised at the number of times I've read and heard "take a decision" in the last couple of years. Most of the sources were British (BBC, The Economist), but I've also noticed it creeping a bit into American speech as well.

As far as I know, there is not yet a "decision-taking process". You can never be wrong with "decision-making process".

Recent feedback from a reader named "Cip" adds this helpful information:

In Spanish you "take" a decision, you never "make" one. Perhaps the rationale behind it is that you do not create/generate choices; the choices are there, available to you.

You will hear many Spanish speaking people in the US say  "I need to take a decision" due to their native language influence.

Interesting. "Taking a decision" still sounds a little strange to me, but Cip's explanation is eminently reasonable.

A quick bit of Googling shows that, net wide, the "take" variant is used only 6.6% of the time. On UK web sites, though, this increases to 12%: almost double, but still a minority usage.

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