Choose, Chose, and Chosen

Commonly Confused Words

choosing ice cream
(Alexander Kesselaar/EyeEm/Getty Images)

Choose is an irregular verb, with chose as the past form and chosen as the past participle form. Other irregulars that follow a similar pattern are break, broke, brokensteal, stole; stolen; freeze, froze, frozen; and speak, spoke, spoken.

Definitions and Principal Parts

The verb choose (rhymes with news) means to select or decide on something from two or more possibilities. (Don't confuse the noun choice with the verb choose.)

The simple past form of choose is chose (rhymes with nose). 

The past participle form of choose is chosen (rhymes with frozen). A helping verb (such as has, have, or had) usually comes before the past participle form chosen.

The present participle form of choose is choosing (rhymes with losing).

Also see these homophonesCommonly Confused Words: Chews and Choose.

Examples

  • "You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes.
    You can steer yourself 
    any direction you choose."
    (Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go! Random House, 1990)

     
  • "What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is to surrender to them."
    (George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language." Horizon, 1946) 
     
  • "What on earth did one put on to go to Mrs. Flowers's house? I knew I shouldn't put on a Sunday dress. It might be sacrilegious. Certainly not a house dress, since I was already wearing a fresh one. I chose a school dress, naturally. It was formal without suggesting that going to Mrs. Flowers's house was equivalent to attending church."
    (Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 1969) 
  • "It was a straightforward, simple life she had chosen. She had tried never to ask for too much, and to be of use."
    (Alice Elliott Dark, "In the Gloaming." The New Yorker, 1994)
     
  • "Humans have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them."
    (Attributed to J.K. Rowling)
     
  • Last week I chose all my classes for next semester, but I haven't yet chosen a major. It's hard to choose between political science and criminal justice.

    Practice

    (a) "The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to _____ one thought over another."
    (Attributed to William James)
     

    (b) "You'll be introduced to the stylist and shown racks and racks of clothes. She's been given your sizes ahead of time and has ____ to ignore them."
    (Tina Fey, Bossypants. Little, Brown, 2011) 

    (c) Last year, she _____ to ignore me, but now I have _____ to ignore her.

    Answers to Practice Exercises

    Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

    Answers to Practice Exercises: Choose, Chose, and Chosen

    (a) "The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another."
    (Attributed to William James)

    (b) "You'll be introduced to the stylist and shown racks and racks of clothes. She's been given your sizes ahead of time and has chosen to ignore them."
    (Tina Fey, Bossypants. Little, Brown, 2011) 


    (c) Last year, she chose to ignore me, but now I have chosen to ignore her.

    Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words