In terms of words in English that are regularly confused, it’s difficult to find more obvious examples than the words ‘choose’ and ‘chose’. In fact, you could probably throw in the noun ‘choice’ into this confusing mix too.
These words are all part of the same word family, meaning they are related in meaning. The words are all connected to the idea of making a conscious decision – something you select yourself.
But it is also the very fact that these words are so similar in both spelling and pronunciation that makes them difficult to distinguish. So here are the differences between ‘chose’ and ‘choose’ – both in meaning and pronunciation – that will help you use the words correctly in the future.
What is ‘Choose’?
‘Choose’ is what we call the infinitive or root verb. Therefore it is the word we use in the present tense, for example:
I choose to be who I am.
Anna chooses to work in the office but she could work from home if she wanted to.
You can choose what you’d like to have for dinner.
As well as remembering to use double ‘o’ in the spelling (always in the present or future form), it is important to get the pronunciation right. ‘Choose’ rhymes with ‘blues’ or ‘shoes’, meaning that it is a long ‘oo’ sound.
I choose blue shoes
What is ‘Chose’?
So, if ‘choose’ is the present form of the verb, then ‘chose’ is the past form. Right? Right! And here are some examples:
I chose to work late last night so I’m really tired this morning.
Karl chose to go to bed early so he’s full of energy this morning.
We chose to live in a small town instead of a big city.
Always one ‘o’ for chose. And in terms of pronunciation, there is also a distinct difference with the infinitive form. ‘Chose’ rhymes with ‘goes’ or ‘clothes’
I chose new clothes.
Other members of the ‘choose’ word family
As well as the infinitive and past form of the words, there are also the gerund/present participle and past-participle forms. The gerund/present participle is ‘choosing’ with the double ‘o’, because it is always based on the infinitive form (choose). The past participle is ‘chosen’. The noun form or the word if choice (with a ‘c’).
In terms of pronunciation, ‘choosing’ rhymes with ‘losing’, ‘chosen’ rhymes with ‘frozen’, and ‘choice’ rhymes with ‘voice’. And remember, if you have any doubt with your pronunciation, you can check how a word should be said using a good online dictionary, which will give you both the US and British pronunciation of the word.
Here are some examples of these words in action:
I’m choosing to live with my parents – I could move out at any time if I wanted to.
I’m still choosing between the ice cream and the chocolate cake – it’s such a hard decision.
I’ve chosen to go to college next year instead of this year.
The best paintings will be chosen by a panel of experts.
I have no choice but to sell the car – it’s just costing too much money.
It’s my choice and I don’t want to go.
Other ways in English to express the idea of ‘choosing’
Finally, it’s important to understand that, although we make choices throughout our day, native English speakers will not always choose to use the words ‘choose’ and its variants. That’s because there are a number of other ways to express this same concept. Here are just a few examples (with the ‘choose/chose’ alternative in brackets).
What are you having off the menu? I’m having the chicken. (What are you going to choose off the menu? I’ve chosen to have the chicken)
I’d like the chicken, please. (I choose the chicken, please)
I decided to have the chicken. (I chose the chicken)
I went for the chicken. (I chose the chicken)
One last thing
Despite their clear difference in meaning (and pronunciation), the fact is when you are writing it’s really easy to misspell ‘choose’, or should that be ‘chose’? Everyone can do it, and most of us have. But that’s just another reason why it’s important to use a writing tool that picks up on these types of mistakes to ensure your writing has been proofread to a high standard. That’s why you should choose Linguix – an AI-powered assistant for all of your writing needs.