Talking about Decisions in English

The new year’s coming, have you made any New Year’s resolutions yet? Here we come to the first of the expressions related to making decisions. It’s a new year’s resolution. If you want your plans and wishes to come true, you should try to make them your new year’s resolutions. On New Year’s Eve, you need to promise yourself that in the next year you will stop drinking / smoking / eating sugary foods / eating junk food / study more / read more / get fit / travel more / watch less TV / spend less time online / have more or less leisure time, etc.  All your wishes may come true if you just make new year’s resolutions and try to stick to them all year round. So, let’s look at some collocations and idiomatic expressions for talking about decisions in English.

 Talking about Decisions in English
Talking about Decisions in English

Let’s look at some adjectives which collocate with the noun decision

Difficult / tough / strategic / controversial / final decision

For example:

  • The most difficult decision she has ever had to make was giving up her child for adoption.
  • The coach had a tough decision to make – whether to leave the player in the game or replace him.
  • The company has made a strategic decision to improve health and the environment in all areas.
  • The Prime Minister invited the Communist Party into his government, which was a controversial decision at the time.
  • The Committee was asked for an opinion about that matter before the Board of Directors makes a final decision.

Let’s look at the verbs related to decision making.

Talking about decisions in English

Arrive at / come to / make / reach / reconsider decision

For example:

  • The method countries sometimes use to arrive at decisions is the referendum.
  • The employees in that department need to come to decision on whether they want to have a casual Friday.
  • Tom, you have one more year to make a decision about what you want to study.
  • The country’s goal is to reach decisions that meet the requirements of the European Community.
  • I think I should reconsider my decision about going abroad this year. Perhaps I should wait till the pandemic is over.
 Talking about Decisions in English
Talking about Decisions in English
Make up your mind

Meaning: to decide.

For example:

  • Please, try to think thoroughly before you make up your mind.
  • Kate can’t make up her mind whether to take up yoga or gymnastics. 
All things considered

Meaning:  when you look at all the aspects of the situation, things may not be perfect, although in general, it is good.

For example:

  • We had a flat tire on our way to Spain, but all things considered, it was an enjoyable journey.
  • All things considered, Lilly was happy to be alive. 

Talking about decisions in English

Fish or cut bait

Meaning: you need to decide whether you want to stay and be productive or give up.

For example:

  • Martin, you have to decide what you will do about your job. Fish or cut bait.
  • I see that you’re not very enthusiastic about this job offer so either fish or cut bait. It’s up to you!
Be in two minds

Meaning:  be unable to decide.

For example:

  • I felt sick this morning and I was in two minds about whether to go to work or not.
  • I’m in two minds here – should I continue this journey or go back home?

Talking about decisions in English

Point of no return

Meaning: a point at which you cannot undo your actions.

For example:

  • Some scientists claim that global warming has already reached the point of no return.
  • The company has already invested a lot of money in that project. We can neglect it now. It reached the point of no return.
Argue the toss

Meaning: to disagree.

For example:

  • Whatever we suggest, Michael will always argue the toss.
  • If you watch the Parliament meetings, you’ll see that they’re just arguing the toss most of the time.

Meaning:   a decision which is easy to make, without much thought.

For example:

  • Accepting that job with excellent working conditions and a good salary was a no-brainer.
  • Replacing material letters with electric ones was a no-brainer.

Talking about decisions in English

Have second thoughts

Meaning: to have your doubts about something, which makes decision-making uneasy.

For example:

  • After talking to the manager, Sara started having second thoughts about the job offer.
  • In case you have second thoughts, please give me a call so we can discuss this matter again.
Sit on the fence

Meaning: to be undecided or neutral about something.

For example:

  • Has the boss decided what we are going to do about this project or is he still sitting on the fence?
  • Martha didn’t know what to tell Mark about his proposal. She was just sitting on the fence.
Change your mind

Meaning: to change your original idea or choice about something.

For example:

  • Last year, I planned to go on holiday to Turkey but this year I changed my mind. I’ll go to  Thailand.
  • If you change your mind about the price of the car, please give me a call.

Talking about decisions in English

Be on the horns of a dilemma

Meaning: unable to decide between two things because whatever you decide, you may regret.

For example:

  • I’m on the horns of a dilemma – whether to stay in my home country or move abroad where I might have better work and life opportunities.
  • I’m on the horns of a dilemma. I’ve always wanted to have my own home but I’m not sure I can afford it.
Talking about decisions in English
Talking about decisions in English
 Talking about Decisions in English
Talking about Decisions in English

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