"take a decision" vs. "make a decision"

Hi, where do you see the difference between “take a decision” and “make a decision”? I take it both are strong collocations? Running both phrases through the British National Corpus revealed the following:

“take a decision”: 27 results
“make a decision”: 249 results

Prof. Google says:
“take decision”: 870,000 entries
“make a desion”: 15,400,000 entries

So, “make a decision” seems to be more popular but what exactly does this mean if anything?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between a professor and her student[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten

I think the meanings are essentially the same. I myself have never used “take a decision.”


Hi Torsten,

I don’t want to be a nitpicker but I can see a shade of difference between the two. Accepting that they both mean decide. Make a decision suggests make your mind up rather than as it were sit on the fence. Take a decison is make your mind up and follow through. The reason why I pick on this is that I hear the expression used as follows: A country takes the decision to go to war. And then the war starts.


:?: :?: :?:


Hi Tom,

I’m sure you know how to find the answer to your question? I mean you certainly know how to use Google?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Running into the water[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Tom

Torsten’s right. The British National Corpus (BNC) is easy to find with Google. The BNC is a good resource for seeing how words and phrases are used in context/sentences in British English. This is where you can do your search:

This is what you can find regarding make/take a/the decision:

sara.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/sa … a+decision
sara.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/sa … a+decision
sara.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/sa … e+decision
sara.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/sa … e+decision

The American National Corpus is still being developed:

By the way, I consider the use of ‘take a decision’ to be something you’re more likely to hear in “British English” rather than in “American English”.

I myself prefer “To make a decision”, though one of the prefessors at the university used to correct " to make a decision " into 'to take a decision" and never told us why he did so.

“To make a decision” is way more common here in the US. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard “to take a decision” used in its place, though I could see where it might be acceptable (Alan’s explanation).

I am a native speaker of British English, and the normal thing to say is “make a decision”. Using “take a decision” seems to have become very common with the media and politicians in the last few years, but I’ve never heard anyone say it in conversation.

So if you are learning English “make a decision” is what you should say if you want to sound more native. If you were talking about yourself you could just say something like “i need to decide” eg “i need to decide which kind of chocolate cake I want for my party”

Hope this helps

For me, “to make the decision” describes the act, while “to take the decision” also focuses on the responsibility.


And my two cents is, “to make a decision” implies taking some efforts from his/her own will or need (to make a decision) while “to take a decision” just taking the responsibility or obligation from an external cause (to make a decision).

I realise this thread is a bit old now, but I have only just joined, so I’ll give my penny’s worth.
To me make a decision implies a more personal involvement - I have to decide within myself what is to be done.
Take a decision sounds like making a choice form a predetermined set of options.
But, frankly I’m not sure that there really is any difference beyond personal preference.
Keep up the good work,


I am amk. I’m very much interested to learn English. I have lot of doubt when I am speaking to others especially 'phonic conversation. .

Here few sentences are :

’ May i speak to xxxx
'x is available ’ .
'X is there .
the word avilable is correct or not
or instead of available what words is used .


Maybe those results would be different if you spelled “decision” correctly in the first one. :wink:

You’ve got a point there, Jamie.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: How is the young woman financing her education?[YSaerTTEW443543]

We say “take a decision” mostly in British English and “make a decision” mostly in American English. They mean the same!

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’’’

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

It is my best guess that “to take a decision” is favoured by the British upper class school system because of the French “prendre un decision” influence on the language almost a thousand years ago. Faire un decision, the English equivalent of to make a decision, is awkward to the ear in French and bad form even today. The French always take a decision, as if from a deck of cards.

French has long been the language of diplomacy in Europe, where most of the known world was carved up nautically (the Mercador map vs Arno Peters) during the French Capetian dynasty. The maps: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capetian_Dynasty

Diplomats worked largely in French until recently in history. These persons always took a decision. They were usually persons of power and influence in their respective countries, so it is not a stretch of the imagination to imagine how taking a decision became popular in diverse cultures where French (Politics) and English (Business) dominated the linguistic landscape.

The English language was deeply influenced by the Norman Conquest. English is not the native language of Britain, surprise, surprise. Britain had no unifying language. Celtic, German, Norweigen, Danish and an esperanto-esque of these languages were commonly spoken by the people we refer to as The English today.

When French came, it became the dominant lingo of the upper class. But, this attitude of uberness on the part of the French “English” led to a separation between the mainland French and The French king on the Island of (Great!) Britain. The result is that today Englanders do not speak French.

So to the thinking person of modern English, making a decision, is more correct - even to historians who speak English. Unless they belong to the upper class, of course! Those (vintage) persons like to remind you (young) plebs of that connexion.

That’s the way I see it. That’s the way I play it in my medieval RPGs practicing the English language.

I tend to use them like this:

We needed to make a decision.

We have taken the decision to…

As an American, I have never heard the term “take a decision”. (Actually, I think if a boxer fails to achieve a knockout but is declared a victor by the judges, he is sometimes said to “take the decision”) Since this thread began, Ngrams, a very valuable database, has been developed. From these two graphs, you can see that although “take a decision” is uncommon, but not too rare in British writing, it is virtually unknown in American published works.

U.S. : books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co … g=3&share=

British: books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co … g=3&share=

Another US/UK difference to add to my collection.