Choice v. Decision

When you reach a fork in the road, do you choose to turn left, or do you decide to turn left?

What is the difference between a choice and a decision?

I made Darjeeling tea this morning as opposed to making Assam. Did I choose Darjeeling or did I decide on Darjeeling?

On the surface, these two words appear to be interchangeable. I’m sure if we were writing a paper and noticed that we were overusing “choice” at some point we would change some of the words to “decision”. But are there subtle differences between the two words?

Do you put the same amount of thought into a choice as you would a decision?

I went out to eat with my daughter on Friday. She asked me if I wanted to split the onion soup and the corn ravioli. My options were:

  1. split the soup and ravioli
  2. get my own meal completely
  3. split the onion soup but not the ravioli
  4. split the ravioli but not the soup

My thought process:

  1. It’s over 80 degrees. I get that the onion soup is supposed to be amazing, but do I really want hot soup today?
  2. The burger is also supposed to be amazing, but it’s big and my daughter doesn’t eat meat, so do I want to carry around half a burger or throw away food? (sidenote- one of my biggest pet peeves is throwing away food)
  3. How easy is it to split a bowl of soup?
  4. Sweet corn ravioli is something I don’t often see on a menu and I know this place gets their stuff from the Farmer’s Market.

I know. All this from the simple question of do you want to do splitsys with dinner…

But really- this wasn’t a life altering trajectory. When faced with the four options, when it came down to it, I made a CHOICE to split the meal with my daughter. It might seem, on the surface, that I had four possibilities for an answer, and four possible reasons as to why I should or should not split the meal, but really, what I have for dinner on a random Friday is not really life altering. This was dinner with my daughter not Kool Aid with Jim Jones…

Therefore, I hereby decree that CHOICE is something we do when the situation is not life altering. A choice is simple- it ends after you choose. You go about your life as normal…

So if choice is non life altering, then decision would be…


Decision is life altering…

I decide where to live.

I decide how to take care of my health.

Decisions would require greater thought and perhaps a much greater pro/con list than a choice. Decision might be harder to reverse- if you decide to buy a car, if you don’t want it anymore you could lose money, etc… I’m assuming no one really wants to lose money…

The obvious next question is: Am I being pedantic?

While your obvious answer choice is probably YES, maybe you should give a little more thought to it…

Is there a difference between the words?

I love language, and I love all the words that come with it. With the plethora of words at our disposal, shouldn’t we try to find the word that best fits what we are doing.

When you face the fork in the road, how do you know which tine to meander down? How much thought do you give to left or right, forward or reverse…does everything you do require great contemplation, or do certain issues matter more?

Do you choose? Do you decide?

Is there a difference between decision and choice? Or does it just not matter?