5

I need backup in pressing my case that the phrase “choose from one of four options” is grammatically incorrect. Is there some resource that can prove my case, that the incorrect phrase should be replaced with one of the two following ones?

  • Choose one of four options
  • Choose from four options
3
  • 13
    Other possible corrections: "Choose one from the four options", "Choose one of the four options", "Choose from these four options"... but like Benjol said, I think the problem is less with grammar and more with logic. "Choose from one of four" means that you have a single choice available to you - the other three have already been eliminated.
    – Marthaª
    Nov 19, 2010 at 20:42
  • 5
    “Choose from one option” reminds me of a famous quote of Henry Ford. Nov 19, 2010 at 21:22
  • If the four options for Mr Ford's car paint were Metallic, Pastel, Bright, or Pearlized, each encompassing a number of sub-options, they you could be asked to choose from one of those four options, i.e. to choose one or more colours from the metallic paint category. There's almost always some way to have some combination of words make sense, even if it isn't commonly used.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 16 at 14:09

3 Answers 3

14

As in the other responses, this isn't a case of being grammatically wrong, rather it is semantically wrong. Noam Chomsky long ago observed that grammatically valid constructions can still be "wrong" because of the meaning of the particular words used. ("Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.")

It would be correct (if odd) to ask someone to "...choose from three out of four options"--meaning that there are four total options, but you are limiting the choice to being between a subset of them. Thus, the problem with "chose from one out of four" is not that it is wrong grammatically, but instead that when the subset is restricted to consist of one option, there is no choice to be made.

For your case, any of the suggestions in Martha's comment are a better way of communicating your intent.

2
  • +1 for semantically wrong.
    – Geoffrey
    Nov 23, 2010 at 12:31
  • Unless each option contains multiple suboptions, like you're invited to choose your food from the dinner menu, or the lunch menu, or the bar menu, or the takeaway menu, but you can't order from multiple menus: hence choose from one of these options.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 16 at 14:11
2

Dunno if it's grammatically incorrect, sounds more logically incorrect to me, but to be honest I did have to think about it a bit. I think in conversation I wouldn't even have noticed.

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It's wrong. I came to this page because of a similar sentence I found in an 8th grade science project. It was "Choose from one of the following." I think it should have read "Choose one from the following:".

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