Use CHOICE and CHOOSE correctly (Learn fast with Audio)

choice noun an act of choosing between two or more possibilities; something that you can choose
Our agency helps people make more informed career choices.
I wonder if I made the right choice.
choose verb to decide which thing or person you want out of the ones that are available
You choose – I can’t decide.
You can choose how much garlic you want in your soup.
Definitions are from Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
Real audio - Choice or Choose?

Choice or Choose?

These words can be confusing for ESL students. A private student once told me:

“This is my favorite ramen noodle restaurant. You can choice how much garlic you want in your soup.”

I know what my student meant, but the word choice is incorrect here. The correct word is choose.

“You can choose how much garlic you want in your soup.”

Here’s why – CHOOSE is a verb. In a sentence, a verb will follow the modal verb can to show that something is possible.

It’s possible to CHOOSE the amount of garlic you want in your ramen noodles.

CHOICE is a noun. Nouns don’t follow the modal verb can (in statements).
You can choice

You can choose or You can choice?

Keep reading for clear definitions with lots of natural examples. Learn how to use the noun CHOICE and learn the different tenses for the verb CHOOSE.

Choice – Definition, and Pronunciation

choice noun [pronunciation CHOY-S (sounds like voice)]
an act of choosing between two or more possibilities
[Definitions and examples from HERE]

I now had a clear choice: either I accept their terms or I leave.

She had no choice but to quit work. (= this was the only thing she could do)

Choice is a countable noun. The plural form is choices. [pronunciation CHOY-SIZ (sounds like voices)]

Leaders must make good decisions and tough choices.

Choice Synonym – option

② a person or thing that is chosen

Blue was my first choice, but they didn’t have any blue shirts in my size.

Hawaii is a popular choice for winter vacation travel.

choice noun - pronunciation and examples

Choice Synonyms – selection, pick

Choice noun – How to Use

Nouns can be the subject or the object of our sentences, and we can identify them from the sentence pattern. Nouns will follow articles, adjectives, possessive forms, numbers, and determiners.

I must make a choice. (The noun choice follows the article a)

Leaders must make good decisions and tough choices. (The plural noun choices follows the adjective tough)

It’s my choice, not yours. (The noun choice follows my. This is the possessive form of I)

You have two choices. You can stay and behave or you can leave. (The plural noun choices follows the number 2.)

She had no choice but to quit. (The noun choice follows the determiner no.)

Choose – Definition, and Pronunciation

choose verb  [pronunciation CHEW-Z (chew sounds like new)]
to decide which thing or person you want out of the ones that are available 
[Definitions and examples from HERE]

You can choose how much garlic you want in your soup.

Choose Conjugation – choose chose chosen

Verb tenses

Infinitive – TO CHOOSE
I have to choose between going to Canada or England to study English. (I must decide which of the two choices will be better for me.) 

Present simple – CHOOSE
I choose Canada. (Canada is the country I want to visit to study English.)

Present simple Third-person singular – CHOOSES [pronunciation CHEW-ZIZ (in English the letters ES at the end of a word are pronounced like IZ)]
My class will vote after lunch. I hope everyone chooses Canada. (I hope everyone wants to go to Canada to study abroad.)

Past simple – CHOSE  [pronunciation CHOH-Z (cho sounds like go)]
The vote is over, everyone chose Canada. Yay!  (All my classmates decided that they want to go to Canada.)

Past participle – CHOSEN [pronunciation CHOH-ZEN (chosen sounds like frozen)]
We can stay in a dormitory or with a Canadian family. I haven’t chosen which one yet. [Haven’t chosen is the perfect tense. HAVE + the past participle. Learn more about perfect tense grammar HERE]

Continuous tense – CHOOSING
Oliver is at the electronics store choosing a new computer. It’s between a DELL laptop and a MacBook Air. (Oliver is deciding which computer he wants right now.)

choose verb pronunciation and conjugation

Choose Synonyms – select, pick, decide

Choose Past Tense – Choose vs Chose

Watch this spelling! One letter (o) can change the meaning and the pronunciation. I teach my students this trick to help them remember.

“I choose to watch James Bond every Friday. I like 007.” CHOOSE is spelled with two O’s. If there are two of the same letter side by side in a word we can say double that letter

“Her name is Jillian. Spelled J – I – double ‘L – I – A – N.”

007 is James Bond’s license to kill. We often read the number zero as ‘oh’ when speaking.

“I live at six oh two (602) West Duffield street.”

007 is read as “Double Oh Seven” so “I choose to watch James Bond… (every Friday)” reminds me that CHOOSE (chewz) is spelled C – H – double ‘Oh’ – S – E.

*Every Friday tells us that we need present tense. (CHOOSE) If something happens every week we don’t use the past tense because the action is not finished.

Choose Past Tense - Choose vs Chose

CHOOSE and Make a CHOICE

The noun CHOICE can also be used with the verb make. This has the same meaning as CHOOSE.

The bakery has chocolate and vanilla cake but you can only have one for your party. Make a CHOICE soon, the bakery is closing. = The bakery has chocolate and vanilla cake but you can only have one for your party. CHOOSE soon, the bakery is closing.

A: If I accept the promotion I’ll get a raise but I have to move away from my hometown. I don’t know if I should.
B: It’s a big decision, you should think about it carefully.
A: You’re right but my boss wants an answer tomorrow! I have to make a CHOICE tonight.

OR – I have to CHOOSE tonight.

*The synonym DECIDE is also possible here:
I have to DECIDE tonight.

Do you know the difference between HAVE TO and MUST? Learn it HERE

Collocations with CHOICE

Choice is often used with these adjectives:

Good/excellent choice
Bad/poor choice
Informed choice (The adjective informed can mean based on an understanding of the facts of a situation.)

Customer: I’ll have the Pacific salmon.
Waiter: Excellent choice sir! The salmon was just flown in this morning.

Her life is a tragic story of bad luck and poor choices.

I wanted to make an informed choice about the private school I will send my daughter to.

Choose Between two Things 

We can have many things to choose from, but if there are only two options we can use the preposition between to show that our choices are limited. To select one person or thing from two options.

After graduation, I have to CHOOSE between finding a job right away or taking some time off to travel.

I woke up late today. I had to CHOOSE between missing my train or skipping breakfast. (I got to work on time but I’m so hungry now!)

A: Who do you think will get the promotion?
B: I don’t know, both Ryan and Kelley are great choices. The boss will have to CHOOSE between the two of them, it won’t be easy.

Expressions with Choose and Choice

Choose the path of least resistance = Choose the easiest way of doing something

I just agreed with the team so we could get started. I choose the path of least resistance. – I decided it was easiest to agree with the group so we could start working. It was easier to agree now than to disagree and spend more time talking.

Other versions of this expression are also used.

  • Follow the path of least resistance.
  • Take the path of least resistance.

Drug of choice = Any habit, activity, or vice that one is particularly fond of or dependent upon.

I rarely drink cola, it’s not good for you. If I do order a soft drink at a restaurant Pepsi is my drug of choice.

Spoiled for choice = To have so many good options for something that choosing just one may be difficult.

My new apartment is surrounded by great cafes. If I ever want to relax with a nice cup of coffee I’m spoiled for choice.

Beggars can’t be choosers = if you are desperate for something and it is given to you, you can’t complain about it’s quality. If you beg for something you don’t get to choose.

I needed a car and my uncle gave me his old pick-up truck. It’s green and rusty but beggars can’t be choosers.

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/choice

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CHOICE as an Adjective

choice adjective ​(especially of food) of very good quality [LINK]

Those were some choice steaks we ate last night.

Bonus AUDIO – Listen to the examples sentences from the last 4 sections of this post.

Choice or Chose

Another common error can come from confusing the noun CHOICE with the past tense CHOSE because they are similar. CHOY-S and CHOH-Z. Here’s another trick for remembering which word to use.

Yesterday I chose to buy some new clothes

The adverb yesterday places us in the past tense. 

The past tense of choose is chose (CHOH-Z) which sounds like the noun clothes. (CLOZE) 

Choice or Choose? Conclusion

Now you know that CHOICE is a noun (sometimes an adjective) and it will be used after articles, adjectives, possessive forms, numbers, and determiners.

The verb CHOOSE will follow a subject and change tense depending on when the verb happened. Use the tricks you learned in this post to remember these words and you won’t mistake them anymore. Thanks for reading and good luck.

Check out these other great blog posts!

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