Quick answer
"Decidir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to decide", and "optar" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "to opt for". Learn more about the difference between "decidir" and "optar" below.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to make a decision about)
a. to decide
Su hija aún no ha decidido qué quiere estudiar.Their daughter has not yet decided what she wants to study.
2. (to make a choice about)
a. to decide
Decidamos qué vamos a cenar.Let's decide what to have for dinner.
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
3. (to settle)
a. to make up one's mind
Todo lo que tienes que hacer es decidirte y pasar a la acción.All you have to do is make up your mind and take action.
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An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to decide on; used with "por")
a. to opt for
Dada la situación en España, opté por estudiar en otro país.Because of the situation in Spain, I opted to study in another country.
b. to choose
Tras mucho pensarlo, optamos por el color azul para el baño.After much thought, we chose blue for the bathroom.
2. (to have the right to; used with "a")
a. to be eligible for (a grant or a position)
Para poder optar a la beca debes tener nacionalidad paraguaya.You must be of Paraguayan nationality to be eligible for the grant.
b. to apply for (a grant or a position)
No podrán optar al puesto los familiares de las personas encargadas del proceso de selección.No relation of those involved in the selection process can apply for the position.
c. to have access to (a benefit)
Nuestros empleados pueden optar ahora a un plan de pensiones.Our employees now have access to a pension scheme.
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