select vs. choose?


I want to know the diffrence between select and choose.

Such as: Why not you choose the other way?

         Why not you select the other way?

Which sentence is right?

Hi Sunhy,

To me ‘choose’ and ‘select’ both refer to picking out something/someone from a number of two or more people or things. ‘Select’ has a more specific nature about it and ‘choose’ is more general in its meaning.

If you are on a journey and you come to a crossroads where it is possible to turn right or left, you have to choose the direction.

If you advertise for a job and receive several applications, you have to decide which of the applicants to invite for interview. You would probably select six applicants for interview.


Neither sentence is right the way you wrote them, but use of each word is possible.

Why did you not choose the other way?
Why did you not select the other way?

  • In these examples ‘choose’ and ‘select’ mean the same thing - to pick out something as being the best of the alternatives.

In other cases, the usage is slightly different. A Learner’s Dictionary would be a very useful tool for you when you are trying to find out about vocabulary. LFor example, look at this note from the Oxford Learners’ Dictionary:

go for
These words all mean to decide which thing or person you want out of the ones that are available.

choose to decide which thing or person you want out of the ones that are available: You choose—I can’t decide.

select [often passive] to choose somebody/something, usually carefully, from a group of people or things: He was selected for the team. ; a randomly selected sample of 23 schools

pick (rather informal) to choose somebody/something from a group of people or things: She picked the best cake for herself.

choose, select or pick?
Choose is the most general of these words and the only one that can be used without an object.
When you select something, you choose it carefully, unless you actually say that it is selected randomly/at random.
Pick is a more informal word and often a less careful action, used especially when the choice being made is not very important.

decide to choose between two or more possibilities:
We’re still trying to decide on a venue.

opt to choose to take or not to take a particular course of action:
After graduating she opted for a career in music.
After a lot of thought, I opted against buying a motorbike.

go for something (rather informal) to choose something:
[i]I think I’ll go for the fruit salad.[i]
to choose/select/pick/decide between A and/or B
to choose/select/pick A from B
to opt/go for somebody/something
to choose/decide/opt to do something
to choose/select/pick somebody/something carefully/at random
randomly chosen/selected/picked

The formatting looks better and easier to follow on the original at:
oxfordadvancedlearnersdictio … ary/select


I don’t agree with this, which is why I gave the examples. I also don’t agree that you choose or indeed select something that is



It’s very strange, but your reply didn’t appear on my computer until after I had posted mine. Had I seen your response first, then I wouldn’t have made one. I’m sorry if I stood on your toes.

Perhaps I should say ’ what you perceive to be the best of the alternatives’. After all, why would you select anything less?

I am so happy to get the replies from you. Thanks very much.