Using Choose vs Chose

Instructor: David Boyles

David has a Master's in English literature. He has taught college English for 5+ years.

In the English language, we use verbs to indicate actions and we use different forms of the verbs to indicate whether the action occurred in the past, is currently occurring or is going to occur at some point in the future. This lesson will look at the present and simple past tense of the verb 'to choose.'

I Choo-Choo Choose You

In a classic episode of The Simpsons, Lisa gives Ralph a Valentine with a picture of train on it and the caption, 'I Choo-Choo Choose You'. But why does this statement make the train sound of 'choo choo choo'? Why isn't it 'I Cho-Cho Chose You'?

'Choose' (rhymes with shoes) and 'chose' (rhymes with hose) are both forms of the verb 'to choose,' and although they frequently get mistaken for each other, they are not the same. They indicate different verb tenses, which are used to mark when an action is taking place, such as the past, present, or future. 'Choose' is the present tense form, used for things happening right now, while 'chose' is the simple past tense, used for things that happened in the past.

Which path do you choose?


Lisa's card to Ralph is telling him that she chooses him right now, in the present. That is why it's 'choo-choo choose' you instead of 'cho-cho-chose' you. Here are some other examples of 'choose' in the present tense:

  • I choose to watch TV tonight instead of going out.
  • John and Sally have to choose between buying a house and renting an apartment.

Sometimes, the present tense 'choose' gets an 's' on the end as well:

  • Jack chooses to go to school instead of stay in bed.

'Choose' can also combine with the helping verb 'will', to create a future tense. The future tense is something that will happen at a later time - it hasn't happened yet and it is not currently happening, but will eventually happen:

  • I will choose my outfit in the morning.
  • Sam will have to choose a new pet soon.
  • In November, the voters will choose a new President.

Choose rhymes with shoes

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