This week, we’re looking at the many different ways we talk about choosing things. We’ll cover both one-word synonyms and phrases. As you might expect, this round-up will include a number of phrasal verbs.
The verb pick is often used as a synonym for ‘choose’. Pick a card. / He was picked for the junior squad. The phrasal verb pick out emphasizes that you choose one thing from a group: I offered Anna various sweaters and she picked out a green one.
The phrase pick and choose means ‘to choose only what you want’. It’s often used negatively when criticizing someone for choosing in a situation where this is not appropriate: You can’t pick and choose which rule you follow. That’s not how it works.
The noun ‘pick’ is used in some nice phrases. You might ask someone to choose something from a number of things by saying, informally, take your pick: We’ve got loads of scarves – take your pick! The first person to choose something from several may be said to have or get first pick: It’s Charlie’s birthday so he gets first pick of the cookies. Meanwhile, if you have your pick of people or things, all the options are available to you: We were first to arrive at the restaurant, so we had our pick of the tables.
Still with the word ‘pick’, we use the adjective handpicked to describe people who have been carefully chosen for a particular activity: The president was speaking to a handpicked audience of supporters.
Finally for ‘pick’, the verb cherry-pick means ‘to choose people or things to suit yourself, in a way that is not fair or not right’: Schools have been accused of cherry-picking academically more able students. / He accused campaigners of cherry-picking data.
Moving on, the verb select means ‘choose’ and suggests that someone thinks carefully about their choice: He was selected to play for Australia aged just 18. The adjective selective means ‘choosing only what you want’: Once your reputation as an actor is established, you can afford to be a bit more selective about parts you accept.
As you might expect, there are various phrasal verbs that mean ‘choose’. In UK English, you can say you go for something: I usually go for the plant-based option if there is one. If you decide on or settle on something, you choose it after careful thought: Have they decided on a name for the baby yet? / We eventually settled on a date for the party.
The verb opt also means ‘make a choice’. You can opt for something or opt to do something: She might opt for early retirement. / I opted to do the shorter course.
I hope you’ve found this round-up of ‘choose’ words and phrases helpful!