The Past Tense of Choose: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

Learning a language’s grammatical concepts is arguably one of the most difficult things about learning any language.  For example, for anyone who has ever learned a foreign language before, you know how difficult it is to memorize verb conjugations, different forms of pronouns, lists of noun rules, and various other grammar rules.  And if you have ever learned more than one other language, it can be very easy to get them confused.

Welcome to English, a language that is considered to be one of the most difficult languages in the world to master due to the complexity of its rules and the fact that it actually breaks its own rules more often than not.  The exceptions often outnumber the rules, and it can be very hard to keep track of what is right and what is wrong, especially if you find yourself working with several different groups of people with their own colloquialisms or slangs.  English lends itself to several common grammar mistakes that beginners and experienced English speakers alike make often.  

In this article, let’s explore the verb “to choose”, learn its proper use, how to use its past tense, look for its synonyms, and learn its etymology and context.  

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Which is Correct: Why I choose or chose?

To first understand a word, its history, and how to use it properly, it is important to first define what it actually means.  According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word choose can be defined as “to select freely and after consideration”, or “to make a decision or a selection”.  A secondary definition is “to decide, to have a preference for”.  In total, there are six definitions of the word provided in both transitive and intransitive forms.  

Part of what makes English such a difficult language to master is that no matter where you look, there are rules, and then there are exceptions to those rules.  For example, the common rule for making the past tense in English is to add “-d” or “-ed” to a verb to give it the past tense.  For example, the verb cook becomes cooked, and the verb bake becomes baked.  In both situations, you either add the “-ed” or the “-d” suffix and the word is past tense.

However, forming the past tense of choose is difficult because to do so, you have to memorize an irregular form.  Instead of adding a suffix, you have to change the spelling from choose to chose.      

Is it chose or chosen?

When asking whether or not something is a real word, what you are really asking is whether or not people use it often enough for it to be considered correct.  The reason for this distinction is that language is directed by culture, not the other way around.  The words people use in common conversation eventually become correct even if they are not considered correct by a dictionary.  For example, the word selfie was added to several dictionaries a few years ago due to its prevalence in context and in culture.

The dictionary cannot be the definitive authority on all of language, so learn your audience and how they communicate, and you will be just fine.

In this context, both chose and chosen are correct words, however, the word chosen is the past participle rather than the past tense.  The past participle is used to show action that has been completed, e.g. “he has already chosen his outfit for today”.  

What is a choose?

To be completely honest, in this context, the word is used incorrectly.  The correct usage here would be to ask, ‘What is a choice?’, rather than ‘What is a choose’?  The answer is that a choice is the noun that the verb represents.  It is the decision itself.  

The History and Origin of the Word

One of the best ways to understand a word is to learn where it came from.  A word’s etymology can reveal a lot about the changes a word has gone through to get to where it is today in modern English.  According to, the word choose comes from the Old English word “ceosan” which means to “seek out, select from two or more options, or decide”.  That word, in turn, originated in the Proto-Germanic and Old Saxon languages.  

Many verbs actually do get their roots in the older european languages, whereas most nouns in English can trace their origin back to ancient Latin and Greek.  

Examples of the Word in Context

Another great way to learn how to use a word is to explore the word being used correctly.  Either reading the word in its proper context or hearing someone else use it in conversation.  Here are some common examples of the word “to choose” in context:

  • “You need to choose between these four paint options for the interior of your home.”
  • “Have you chosen the correct option out of the four?”
  • “She chose the perfect look today.  Everything she has on is impeccable.”

Synonyms for choose

Finally, to really solidify a word into your vocabulary, it is useful to explore words with similar or same definitions.  The more words you know that can fit into a specific context, the easier it will be to remember which ones to use.  Here are some synonyms for the verb “to choose”:

  • To decide is a general synonym for choose, and while choosing conveys an idea of two or more options, a decision can just be out of one option
  • To desire something is what happens before a decision or choice is made
  • To settle upon something is to come to a conclusion or understanding that makes a choice clear