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Excerpted from chronicle.com

True stories of straight female academics: A scholar of Continental political theory briefly drives around the West with an Italian in his Alfa Romeo then divorces her husband; a novelist debates breast reduction or adoption and chooses the latter; an artist pursues her female collaborator, but the project — and their relationship (though not the artist’s marriage) — falls apart; a poet moves to Europe in pursuit of a married lawyer yet ultimately returns home to her family; a feminist professor dreams up scenarios to run off with two of her male students, but nothing happens; an archivist considers dumping husband and children but decides on Prozac instead.

If my understanding is right, Prozac is a kind of drug to cure depression, so the archivist mentioned above is in depression, and decides to take Prozac to cure it.

But my understanding is obtain via logic deduction(at least to me), not the nature of the sentence, to me, the first impression is she decides to be in depression herself, since she decides to take drug to cure it.

Is my intuition right? Is it better to write "an archivist considers dumping husband and children but ends up taking Prozac instead."?

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That passage is intended to be a series of "stories told in headlines", so the style is clipped and telegraphic.

In this context, the meaning of "decides on Prozac instead" is that the woman is unhappy in her life and considered leaving her husband and children, but decided instead to solve her unhappiness issue with medication.

Depending on the ideological bent of the author, this could either mean that the unhappiness was caused by an underlying medical condition (like depression) and her decision was to seek treatment, or that the unhappiness was a result of her domestic situation and the decision was to "numb the pain" with Prozac.

"Ends up taking Prozac instead" would likely have a slightly different meaning; it's more "passive", so to me it would imply that the woman was thinking about leaving, but ended up taking Prozac as the "default option", or because someone told her to.

Either way, it seems like perfectly fine English, aside from the telegraphic "headline" style (which is also grammatical, for its register).

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Yes, your deduction is spot on. "decides on" is synonymous to : adopt, embrace, favour, take and want. This confirms your assumption on what the sentence means. To briefly explain again,

"an archivist considers dumping husband and children but decides on Prozac instead."

An archivist considers leaving his/her family due to stress and depression and thinks about taking anti-depressants, much like what 'Prozac' is. That is the meaning of the sentence, which you have correctly interpreted. Do check out the synonyms for the term "decides on" here.

  • Which deduction is spot on? If you are referring to this: If my understanding is right, Prozac is a kind of drug to cure depression, so the archivist mentioned above is in depression, and decides to take Prozac to cure it, then I agree with you, but if you are referring to this: Is it better to write "an archivist considers dumping husband and children but ends up taking Prozac instead", then I'd disagree. I think the sentence is fine as it was originally written. – J.R. Jan 15 '16 at 10:54
  • The former. The latter sounds odd. – Varun Nair Jan 15 '16 at 10:58

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