CONTEXT: Tracking when a user selected values on a computer program.

The word "on" has to be used differently to portray action ("was turned on") vs status ("was on"). But a problem occurs when applying this to the word "selected": "became selected" portrays action, but the phrase "was selected" seems ambiguous.

For example, the sentence "We know that that option was selected on Tuesday" could mean 2 things:

  1. An action was performed on Tuesday to select that option.
  2. All throughout Tuesday, that option was selected, and so it must have become selected BEFORE Tuesday.

Is there another succinct way to describe option 2, since "was selected" is ambiguous?


  • "That was the selected option" may be the closest to the original.
    – Juhasz
    Jul 12 at 21:11
  • I don't quite follow your second paragraph. You say that "was turned on" indicates only action, but it can also represent the status of something: "When I walked into the room, the light was [[already]] turned on." Jul 12 at 21:24
  • 1
    Get used to ambiguity. You normally can't tell a passive from a predicate adjective without adding bells and whistles to distinguish them. That's just the way it is, and different people can have different individual grammars that tell them it's one or the other. In fact, it almost never matters, except to OCD teachers. Jul 12 at 23:23
  • 1
    Why not 'The choice had been made by Tuesday' or 'Come Tuesday, the option had been selected.'?
    – Kinglish
    Jul 13 at 15:56
  • Context usually disambiguates it, so it's not generally a concern.
    – Barmar
    Jul 25 at 22:53


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