75

What is the difference between make decision and take decision? When to use the one and when the other?

8 Answers 8

81

I disagree with other answers that this is simply regional variation, with no difference in meaning. While I'm sure there are regional variations, and certainly the core meaning is the same, to me (native southern UK) the meanings are definitely slightly different:

  • The phrase "making a decision" is the more common phrase. It can refer to the actual moment where a course of action is chosen (and just that moment), but also sometimes to the whole process leading up to it (where one might undertake research, have discussions, think and so on, in order to prepare oneself for the decision itself): "The committee took several months to make a decision."
  • The phrase "taking a decision", by contrast, only refers to the decisive moment itself, and not to the process leading up to it. It has more formal connotation, and an implication that the decision will have serious consequences, and that the person deciding will be responsible for them; it has a sense of finality about it.

Some examples may help clarify:

  • I haven't made a decision about where to go on holiday. (Informal, consequences not serious, nobody's going to hold me to account.)
  • The president took the decision to invade Elbonia.
  • Bob was fired because he took the decision to outsource the call centre to Mars.
  • The decision-making process took a number of weeks: the engineers did the research and made recommendations, but it was the manager who took the final decision.

In support of this position it is worth using Google to search for "take a decision" and "make a decision" on the BBC News website. The former are (at time of writing) all about formal decisions (by governments, official bodies, international committees etc); the latter - once quotes from US politicians are filtered out - mostly about personal or informal decisions, and about the decision process rather than any decision being taken:

  • "The Arab leaders should take a decision to stop negotiating..."
  • "But, as a public consultation into UK future energy needs begins, he said it was time to take a decision on nuclear."
  • "I usually sleep on it, relax and then make a decision which is usually the correct decision."
  • "It's not to say that if you've got to make a decision you should make it in a fraction of a second - that is daft."
  • "When we make a decision, we are supposed to consciously analyse the alternatives and carefully weigh the pros and cons."
7
  • You're right. The other answers are wrong. Mar 18, 2012 at 2:25
  • 2
    +1 for disagreeing with the others, rather than declaring them "wrong". Also, for the best answer on the page.
    – Dave Land
    Dec 5, 2013 at 20:51
  • 8
    This may well be right for British English. Take a decision is not used in American English, though, and is likely to be confusing to Americans without much exposure to British English.
    – mgkrebbs
    Jan 27, 2014 at 0:59
  • 1
    While I agree that "making" a decision involves the process and "taking" it does not, I do not agree on there being a difference in formality between the two. I think the increased usage in politics is not because of formality, but because politicians have a tendency to request immediate action. "Taking" a decision might be meant to characterize the other parts as dubitative and to appeal for a resolution without further delay. May 3, 2018 at 17:06
  • @Carlos: Interesing. Do you have any evidence to support your position?
    – psmears
    May 3, 2018 at 20:39
4

Make decision is the common form used in English.

I want to think about it a bit longer before I make a decision.

But take decision is used in British English. It means "making an important or formal decision".

I fully accept the decision taken by the committee.

4

For US English only: Make a decision. Take a position.

A decision is something that is formed through a process. It is put together, or made.

A position is something that is finished. The world "position" itself suggests a specific, stable place to which one has moved, or taken.

One makes a decision to take a position.

3

Per se, there appears to be no difference in meaning. Even so, "taking a decision" is common in British parlance, whereas "making a decision" is more common in the US.

Refer BetterWritingSkills for more information.

1
  • 6
    In the US "make a decision" is the term used. "Take a decision" is almost never used among AmE speakers.
    – John Satta
    Jan 24, 2011 at 14:15
3

Actually, I think the difference between the two is the final action.

Making a decision implies something you have decided in your mind. The action to implement that decision may or may not have happened.

Taking a decision implies that the action to implement the decision has happened.

That's my two cents worth.

0

making a decision is something you have engineered; taking a decision is something that is put before you (active versus passive).

3
  • Not active vs passive
    – Argot
    Jan 24, 2014 at 19:50
  • 2
    Can you back up your answer with any references?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 24, 2014 at 19:54
  • I agree there is something of creatively making a decision (actively) versus adopting or taking a choice that has been put before you or your committee (passively). Aug 7, 2021 at 5:26
-1

Actually decisions deal with options. You may have several options to choose from at which time you may choose an option. Hence I may request that you choose or pick an option. Obviously when you pick an option you are taking that corse of action. As you can see when you pick you decide to take. Even though making a decision is more common the logical reasoning leads one to take a decision to use take versus make. Once you decide the corse of action to take in deciding to use "take" the usage will feel more natural .

1
  • I agree that take has to do with taking one of several alternative paths presented, paths that you in general won't have made. Aug 7, 2021 at 5:29
-1

It is more Make a decision more than take a decision. Even under pressure, you never take a decision. You make it. Even though time is restrictive, you evaluate the situation and make your final decision, regardless of the time limit. A level of mental evaluation has taken place thus calculations for the final decision has been made.

You also have to take into account that take is usually connected with theft. He took my money, we took the bank, I took his life etc.

Make a decision has been established for many years and functions correctly. Do not confuse it with take and spoil your English.

8
  • Sorry for the speedy reply. But I am strapped for time. I made the decision to reply efficiently and effectively.
    – Arthor
    Dec 23, 2020 at 13:52
  • No rush...this question has been here for 10 years. Dec 23, 2020 at 15:21
  • @Cascabel I like to reply quickly!
    – Arthor
    Dec 23, 2020 at 15:22
  • That may be the case. I suggest you read some literature, old books, as well as scientific papers. If that's your preference so be it. But remember, take implies a level of theft so it's illogical to use it. The decision has clearly been made!
    – Arthor
    Dec 23, 2020 at 15:27
  • When you took a shower or bath this morning, did you steal the water? Dec 23, 2020 at 15:29

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