I’ve been seeing more and more people using “take a decision” instead of “make a decision.” I instinctively change “take” to “make” each time, mainly because I’ve heard of decision-making ability, but I’ve never heard of decision-taking ability.
So I opened up my trusty Webster’s dictionary to see what it had to say.
Decision is defined as “a determination arrived at after consideration; a conclusion.”
Q: Would you take a determination, or make a determination?
Q: Would you make a conclusion, or take a conclusion?
Webster defines “take” as “to get into one’s hands or into one’s possession, power or control.” Other definitions include:
• To bind oneself by – Example: take an oath of office
• To impose upon oneself – Example: take the trouble to do it right
• To adopt as one’s own – Example: take a stand on the issue
• To undertake, make, do or perform – Example: take a walk, take legal action
All of these would fit semantically with “take a decision.” However, of all the hundreds of expressions Webster used in the definition of the word “take,” not one of them was “take a decision.”
“Make,” on the other hand, was defined as “to cause to happen, exist, or occur.” Other
definitions that seemed to fit with the word “decision” include:
• To frame or formulate in the mind – Example: to make plans
• To enact or establish – Example: to make laws
Webster did not include “make a decision” in the many expressions listed here, either.
So, I contacted one of the FOJs (Friends of Jeanne), Dr. Errol Wirasinghe, who just so happened to write the book on the subject: “The Art of Making Decisions.”
His take on the subject (pun intended) was:
You “make a decision” and then you “take action” when you implement that decision.
One can “make a decision” and never have any action if one does not implement that decision.
Errol said he spent 11 years in the UK, where they often “take decisions,” though
notalways. (I’m sure that was a double entendre.) He added that in Spanish the expression is “tomar decisiones,” which literally means “to take decisions.”
Therefore, I have decided that we’ll be “making” decisions from now on – preferably good ones!
Profound Quote of the Day:
High office teaches decision making, not substance. It consumes intellectual capital; it does not create it. Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered; they learn how to make decisions but not what decisions to make.
– Henry A. Kissinger, former US Secretary of State