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If I have to choose between three things, do I have three choices? I have always thought of a "choice" as being either the act of choosing or the result of said choosing, but not one of the options from which to choose.

If someone tells me I have two choices, I tell them "No, I have one choice. I have two options." Am I right?

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says both:

choice
1 : the act of choosing : selection <finding it hard to make a choice>
2 : power of choosing : option <you have no choice>

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If I have to choose between three things, do I have three choices?

Yes, in my experience "choice" is widely used in this context.

I have always thought of a "choice" as being either the act of choosing or the result of said choosing, but not one of the options from which to choose.

Really? If I google for "you have three choices" I find 700,000 results.

If someone tells me I have two choices, I tell them "No, I have one choice. I have two options." Am I right?

I'm not familiar with this particular rule, but it sounds like pedantry to me, especially since the way you frame the question makes it seem like many people are saying "choice" rather than "option" to you, and so you must already be aware that "choice" meaning "option" is a common usage.

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"Common usage" and "correct usage" aren't the same thing. Googling for "youse" (as in "youse guys") yields 2.4 million results. And isn't this whole site about pedantry? :-) –  Graeme Perrow Sep 8 '10 at 1:53
    
@Graeme: But Googling for "you" gives 7,960,000,000 results so "youse" is a tiny minority. Hopefully this site is not about pedantry, otherwise I wouldn't be here. –  delete Sep 8 '10 at 2:03
3  
@Graeme if you peruse the best-rated answers on this site they are often based on analyses of usage that tend to debunk typical pedantic viewpoints. –  nohat Sep 8 '10 at 2:27
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