Many English learners use select in this context,

Students select this teacher's class because he is so humorous.

To me, select means the action of selecting a teacher in a form on the school's website. However, I feel in most cases people are not talking about that action. I think it's better to use choose or sign up for in this context.

Am I right?

  • Not really. "Select" and "choose" can be synonyms in some contexts like this. I don't see an issue with either of those.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 28, 2022 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


Your intuition is incorrect. Select was used as a verb long before computers existed, let alone GUIs. It's possible that young people now associate it primarily with computers, but I have no insights into that. Certainly all native speakers regardless of age understand that it can describe the action of choosing one class from a list of several.

Select is of Latin origin. Choose is of Germanic origin. English often contains options of different origin, and you have discovered a pair.

Sign up also fits this context because enrolling in a class will create a textual record. But signing up does not require that a choice be made between two classes. You might easily sign up for a class when it is the only class available.

Overall, any of the three would sound natural regarding enrollment in a class. Select sounds a little more formal to my ears, as is often the case with words of Latin origin. But that might not be true for everyone.

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