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Typically when we've decided something, we say we've "made a decision". But why is a decision associated with the verb "to make"? Nothing is being made. If anything, it seems a decision should be "done", and associated with the verb "to do".

Why do we make them instead of doing them? Or deciding them?

  • While English has a make/do distinction some languages obviously don't, suggesting a certain degree of conceptual similarity. This may be a sort of liminal case. The metaphor of construction makes sense to me; it's hard for me to think about what we're "doing" while deciding if not "making" something. We also use a spatial metaphor, saying that someone has "come to" or "arrived at" a decision. Possibly meaning a person's mental energies have converged at a point of decision within their own brain, but also allowing that a person's decision overlaps with some external standard. – MDHunter Mar 24 '17 at 11:23
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    Yes, comparatively more often we are doing decisions, than rarely making or taking decisions. Whenever we decide, we do decide. If you check the graph for make/take decision and decide in Ngram viewer, you can see that we are almost only doing decisions. – mahmud koya Mar 24 '17 at 11:47
  • Decisions are taken. In 1944 someone took a decision to say "made" instead and it stuck until 1953. books.google.com/ngrams/… – Kris Mar 24 '17 at 12:29
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    There are several other things we sometimes make rather than do: : announcements, bookings, agreements, proposals, remarks, nuisances, commotions, insinuations etc . – davidlol Mar 24 '17 at 12:54
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    @Kris - Your ngram link clearly shows that making decisions has always been more popular than taking them. Here's "make decision" vs "take decision" that shows the same trend: books.google.com/ngrams/… – rianjs Mar 24 '17 at 12:59
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For me it has more to do with intent vs action. A decision is made but that does not mean that the deed will be done. A decision is a thought process, not a physical action, and it comes before the action is completed. The verb "to do," implies an action with a result or, conjugated, describes an attribute.

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