Word Confusion: Choose versus Chose

Posted January 29, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

What is it about words that use one o or two os and how badly people mix these up??

In this case, choose is the present tense while chose is the past tense. If you’re wondering about chosen, it’s a past participle that sometimes swings into the past perfect.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Choose Chose
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“Belgian Chocolates” by frank wouters from Antwerpen, Belgium, [Flickr] is under the [CC BY 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Try it. Try and choose just one.

“He Chose…Poorly” is courtesy of Big Soccer

Part of Grammar:
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Third person present verb: chooses
Past tense: chose
Past participle: chosen
Gerund or present participle: choosing

Past tense of choose

Verb, intransitive:
Pick out or select someone or something as being the best or most appropriate of two or more alternatives

  • Decide on a course of action, typically after rejecting alternatives

Verb, transitive:
Pick out or select someone or something as being the best or most appropriate of two or more alternatives

Verb, intransitive:
I’ll stay as long as I choose.

Now it’s my turn to choose.

Peter chooses to go.

You may stay here at the house, if you choose.

Verb, transitive:
Choose which one you want.

There is little to choose from.

I cannot choose but step up and help.

How can Sadie choose between them?

Verb, intransitive:
He chose to go.

He has chosen to go.

She chose to stay at the house.

She had chosen to stay at the house.

Verb, transitive:
He chose a seat facing the door.

He had chosen a seat facing the door.

You chose the one you wanted.

She had chosen the one she wanted.

It is my chosen profession.

Your designs have been chosen for the performance.

We chose Mary as most valuable player.

Mary was chosen as most valuable player.


  1. Green indicates the past participle
    (You may want to explore the past perfect as well.)
Adjective: choice, choosable, unchoosable
Noun: choice, chooser
Verb: prechoose, prechose, prechosen, prechoosing, rechoose, rechose, rechosen, rechoosing
Adjective: chosen
History of the Word:
Old English cēosan, of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch kiezen.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

“Choices” by Nicholas A. Tonelli, Pennsylvania, USA, under the Creative Commons 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.

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