English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Can "made up my mind be used" in context like:

I made up my mind about quitting smoking.

I am being persuaded that resolved should be used instead, but it seems to me that both versions are correct but differ in a level of resolution of speaker.

share|improve this question
I'd use present perfect: I have made up my mind about quitting smoking => I've made up my mind about quitting smoking (this suggests that you've struggled a bit with the idea) or I've resolved to quit smoking. I think there's not much difference beyond register between resolve (more formal) & make up one's mind. Both involve a decision to quit smoking, & regardless of the words used to express that decision, your actions & not your rhetoric will show your level of resolution. Been there & done that often enough to know. Made it stick in 1975 after 20 years of puffing away. – user21497 Jan 11 '13 at 7:25
up vote 4 down vote accepted

When you are not sure about a certain usage of a phrase, it is good to use corpora such as Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) to find out how the phrase is being used in novels, magazine articles, etc.

In this scenario, it is not wrong to use make up my mind since ODO suggests that it has the definition:

make up one's mind

make a decision; decide: He made up his mind to attend the meeting.

and COCA shows that the phrase make up my mind about something has actually been used though a better way to write it would be

I made up my mind to quit smoking.

The word resolve has the meaning


decide firmly on a course of action

so if you want express that I am determined to quit smoking then resolve is a better word.

And yes, it would be better to write it this way:

I resolved to quit smoking.

share|improve this answer
Going back to OP's example, the exact phrasing would probably be "I made up my mind to quit smoking" - past tense - since the phrase refers to a past decision not to the process of making decision. – amacy Jan 11 '13 at 6:38
@amacy Yeah, I agree. When OP mentioned the word resolve, it was in past tense too. Seems like I would have to edit my question a bit. – user19341 Jan 11 '13 at 6:41
Thanks, I know about COCA/BNC, I even found phrase "You’re old enough to make your own mind up about smoking." in LDOCE examples, I simply have to persuade good language specialist who is very hard to persuade in rare cases she is wrong :). P.S.Edited tense in question. – elevener Jan 11 '13 at 6:42
@elevener Cool! Good luck then :) Don't worry about the past tense I've edited. – user19341 Jan 11 '13 at 6:46

Yes, both seem to be correct in this context. Though "make up my mind" would suggest you had conflicting opinions within yourself and you had to spend quite some time deciding on which. "Resolve" seems to suggest a decision without having spent much time with different sides of the matter.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.