Could you give examples where one is better suited than the other one? Or are they completely synonymous?

(I'm not a native speaker.)

Update: I'm writing a piece software documentation and I wonder if it's better to use choose or opt:

... Note that these components can receive input themselves (although they may opt/choose not to). ...

  • 1
    Hi, Petr. As it stands, this question is "general reference", because it's easy to find the answer in a good dictionary. To improve it, you need to give us more details: what specific context were you thinking of using either word? After looking up the words in a dictionary, what are you still not clear about? (It's entirely possible to look things up in a dictionary and end up more confused than you started. Been there, done that.) Also, since you're asking this because you're not a native speaker, have you considered asking it on ell.stackexchange.com instead?
    – Marthaª
    Mar 12, 2013 at 13:28
  • @Marthaª Thanks for the suggestion, I added where I need to use one of the words. My previous searches lead me to believe that they're interchangeable, but I wanted to be sure. As of ell, how do I decide if I should ask here or there? For example, I found a similar question to mine here: Difference between “choose” and “select”.
    – Petr
    Mar 12, 2013 at 13:46
  • I suggested ELL because you found it necessary to mention that you're not a native speaker, which might mean that you're facing this question because you're learning English. If that's not actually the case, then certainly, this type of word-choice question is quite welcome here. (Although note that when the older question was asked, ELL didn't exist yet.)
    – Marthaª
    Mar 12, 2013 at 13:54
  • About your update: I don't think I'd use an active word like "opt" or "choose" with an inanimate subject like "components". I'm not sure what I'd replace it with; I'd probably rewrite the whole section to avoid this sort of personification in what is presumably a technical document.
    – Marthaª
    Mar 12, 2013 at 13:56
  • Can you clarify what is meant by recieve input?
    – lexeme
    Mar 12, 2013 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


As it is stated here:

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.


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.

As for your sentence I would suggest using something like input may be discarded/declined by the component(-s).

  • 1
    Why the strikethrough?
    – Marthaª
    Mar 12, 2013 at 13:23
  • I wanted to put stress on Choose. But didn't want to exclude explanations on to select and to pick verbs usage.
    – lexeme
    Mar 12, 2013 at 13:32
  • 4
    But that's not what strikethrough means: it implies that the struck-through text is somehow incorrect, or has been superseded.
    – Marthaª
    Mar 12, 2013 at 13:35

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