I looked on Google and there's rarely anyone ever using the expression elect someone to x, as in choose someone to do something, so I was wondering if it was grammatical in any way.

For example:

They elected him to pilot the aircraft, which was in free fall, because he had the most experience within our group.

  • They picked or selected him. elect, not here.
    – Lambie
    Apr 4, 2019 at 22:28
  • Why would elect be wrong though? If they have a vote, shouldn't it be elect?
    – Sayaman
    Apr 4, 2019 at 22:29
  • 1
    When an airplane is falling, there's no voting. Elect is for elections. Elections take time....
    – Lambie
    Apr 4, 2019 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


The example is a little silly, because people are unlikely to vote in that situation. Elect, in that sort of context, suggests that they were chosen through a vote.

However, the general point of electing people to do something is fine. Google Ngram Viewer shows a lot of "elected him to" phrases, and some of them have verbs as the next word. Of course, if it's electing someone to do a job, to fill a position, you see "elected him as" a lot, too. It's the fact of when people would vote that does a lot to determine what verb you might see after "elected him to".

Now, elect can be a formal way to say choose, but not in order to say "choose to do a job" unless that choice was by voting. For example, "I elected to stay home that day" means I chose to stay at home that day, and it's a bit formal and stilted but perfectly normal. But "I elect you to do this job" doesn't make sense unless you're suggesting you did it by voting.

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