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decide to make a choice or judgement about something, especially after a period of not knowing what to do or in a way that ends disagreement

determine (formal) to form a firm intention to do something

make up your mind to reach a firm decision, especially after thinking for a long time and choosing between alternatives

resolve to make a definite decision to do something

settle to decide on something, especially so that you can make definite arrangements

set your heart/mind on to decide that you want something very much

take it into your head to suddenly decide to do something that does not seem sensible

change your mind to change your opinion or decision about something

resolute doing something in a very determined way because you have very strong beliefs, aims, etc.

firm behaving or speaking in a way that shows you are not likely to change your answer, belief, etc.

decisive good at making decisions quickly and with confidence



Hesitating and backing out


  = John: I’m not sure whether to accept or reject the plan. On the one hand… . But on the other… .
  = John hesitated about whether to accept or reject the plan.
  = Peter: John suggests going to Spain for our holidays, but I’m still in two minds about it.
  = Peter was in two minds about their holiday trip to Spain.




John hesitated to ask Peter about it. about leaving the country. (about) what to do next. about whether to leave the country. at nothing. over a choice.  
John hesitated for a short time and then agreed to the plan.  
John was hesitant about it. about leaving the country.  
John agreed without the slightest hesitation.    
John had no hesitation about/in joining the party.    
John showed hesitation / indecision / indecisiveness / irresolution.  
John faltered in his determination/resolution/resolve.    
John’s voice faltered as he tried to speak.    
John was in two minds (about it). (about whether to sell the car or not).  
John was undecided remained in doubt about it. about/as to what to do. whether to stay at home or (to) go abroad. about/as to what should be done.  
John wavered in his determination/resolution/resolve. between two opinions/possibilities. between accepting and refusing his offer.  
John tentatively asked Peter to lend him £500.    



John backed out (from/of his promise/demands).    
John saw that Peter was right, so he had to back down/off.  
John backed down/off (from his demands/opinion). (on/over the issue/matter).  
John went back on his word / promise and refused to cooperate with Peter.  
John took back his unkind remarks. what he had said.  




hesitate (1) to pause before saying or doing something because you are not sure or nervous

(2) to be unwilling to do something because you are not sure that it is right

waver to be or become weak or uncertain, which causes a delay in taking action

falter to speak in a voice that sounds weak and uncertain, and keeps stopping

be in two minds (informal) to be unable to make a decision about something

hesitant uncertain about what to do or say because you are nervous or unwilling

irresolute (formal) unable to decide what to do; uncertain

indecisive unable to make clear decisions or choices

undecided not having made a decision about something important

in doubt uncertain about something

tentative done without confidence

indecision | indecisiveness the state of being unable to decide what to do


back out to decide not to do something that you promised to do

back down | back off (esp. AmE) to accept defeat in an argument, opinion, or claim

go back on to break or not succeed in keeping to an agreement or promise

take back to admit that you were wrong to say something


Permission and prohibition


  = John: Could I possibly use your car?
  Peter: Yes, of course.
  = John asked permission to borrow Peter’s car and Peter allowed him to do so.
  = John: You mustn’t ever smoke here again.
  = John forbade Peter to smoke there.




John let Peter drive his car.    
John allowed Peter to leave the house.    
John didn’t allow dogs in the house. Peter out after dark. music after ten at night.  
John permitted Peter to leave the house. access to the confidential files.  
John didn’t permit dogs in the house. Peter(’s) leaving the house.  
John gave/granted Peter permission to stay away from the meeting.  
Peter had (John’s) permission to stay away from the meeting.  
John authorised Peter to act for him. (the) payment of the bill. Peter’s paying the bill.  
John gave/granted Peter (the) authorisation to pay the bill.    
John gave Peter the go-ahead/the green light to continue his research.    
Peter got the go-ahead/the green light (from John) to continue his research.    
John applied to the manager for permission to stay away from the meeting.    
John asked permission to go.    
John asked to get up/to see the manager. to be excused. that they (should) be allowed to leave. that they might leave.  



John forbade Peter to smoke. Peter from smoking. Peter’s departure. Peter the use of the fax machine. (formal) his children sweets. (formal)  
Park keepers prohibited people from walking on the grass.  
The government banned strikes and demonstrations.    




let to tell someone that they may do something

allow to let someone do something

permit (formal) to let someone do something, especially by an official order or decision

authorise to let someone do something by a legal order

permission an act of officially allowing someone to do something

go-ahead | green light permission, especially official permission, to begin something

forbid to tell someone that they definitely must not do something

prohibit to officially stop an activity by making it illegal or against the rules

ban to say that something must not be done, seen, used, etc.

Insistence and compulsion


  = The manager: I must insist on strict compliance with the provisions of the contract.
  = The manager insisted on strict compliance with the provisions of the contract.
  = The manager: Look, Peter, we’ve already talked the matter over more than once. Now I have to speak bluntly. The fact is you will not keep your present job unless you accept my offer without reservation.
  = The manager put pressure on Peter to accept his offer without reservation.




John insisted on his innocence/the truth of his story. (that) he was innocent/the story was true.
John insisted on immediate payment of the debt. on going there alone. on Peter(’s) returning the book. (that) Peter (should) do it properly. (that) Peter did it properly.
John was insistent on immediate payment of the debt. that the debt (should) be paid at once.
John persisted in his troublesome behaviour. with his demands/requests. in telling lies about Peter.



John made Peter comply with the rules.    
John caused/compelled/forced Peter to comply with the rules.    
John got Peter to comply with the rules. the radio working.  
John browbeat/coerced Peter into signing the contract.    
John had Peter doing all kinds of jobs. do all kinds of jobs. (esp. AmE)  
John pressured pressurised Peter to accept his offer. into accepting his offer.  
John put pressure on Peter put Peter under pressure brought pressure to bear on Peter exerted pressure on Peter (to reject the plan).  
John was/came under pressure (to agree to the plan).  
Peter agreed to the plan under pressure / compulsion / coercion (from John).  



insist (1) to say firmly and repeatedly that something is true, especially when other people think it may not be true

(2) to demand that something should happen or someone should do something

insistent demanding firmly and repeatedly that something should happen

persist to continue to do something, although this is difficult, or other people warn you not to do it


make to force someone to do something, or force something to happen

force to make someone do something that they do not want to do, especially by threatening them

compel to make someone do something

get to make someone or something do something

coerce to make someone do something they do not want to do by threatening them

browbeat to make someone do something by continuously asking them to, especially in an unpleasant threatening way

cause to make something happen

have to persuade or order someone to do something

pressure | pressurise (BrE) to try to make someone do something by making them feel it is their duty to do it

pressure (n.) an attempt to persuade someone by using influence, arguments, or threats




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