Suppose that a group of people wants to choose someone to do some task. So they write everyone's names in pieces of paper (one name per piece), put all the pieces in a bag and someone picks up a name from the bag.

In this case, I'd say the person was chosen "by lot" or "by draw"?

Do you know which one is correct (or both, or none and there's a better word/expression for that) and if there are any difference between them?

  • Drawn by lots, or drawn at random. – Yosef Baskin Feb 28 '17 at 21:24

By lot. Someone chosen by lot was chosen in a draw. A draw is the event of choosing something by that method, but you can't use it as an adjective like you can with "by lot".

Also, as an interesting side note, in English we often say "picked out of a hat" or "a name from a hat" or "taken from a hat" or something similar, even if there was no hat involved! For some reason, in English, hat = choosing at random. Probably because in the not too recent past, everyone would have a hat to use.

  • I didn't know that "by draw" can't be used, maybe because google translator accepts it - it actually translates "by lot" and "by draw" the same way. Anyway, google is not free of errors and I should always look for another sources... Thanks! – user222176 Apr 6 '17 at 20:03
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    Google is very not free of errors. It's much more useful to translate into your own language than from it, as it tends to do a lot of things literally. Also it really doesn't understand preopsitions. I would recommend linguee.com, to get "idiomatic" translations, although there is an EP focus because a lot of the sources are European documents – Some_Guy Apr 6 '17 at 21:26

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