Select vs. Selected

By Maeve Maddox

The English verb select and the adjectives, select and selected, derive from a Latin verb meaning, “to choose, select, set apart.”

Both adjectives mean, “chosen from a larger number of other things.” However, a useful distinction exists between selected and select.

selected
This adjective indicates that something has been chosen or picked out from a larger number; the reason for the selection is usually made clear by the context.

For example, researchers may track the distribution of workers engaged in “certain selected occupations.” The occupations have been selected according to criteria set by the researchers for their study.

An accountant wants to know if she can restrict her reports “only to certain selected users.” The accountant has specific criteria for her selection of people who will have access to the reports.

select
This adjective indicates that whatever was chosen out of a larger number was chosen on account of excellence or superiority.

For example, “Hermes Paris caters to a select clientele.” Because Hermes products are expensive, select indicates that the people who shop there are superior to other people because they have the money to pay for luxury items.

“The agency did its hiring from a select group of college graduates.” Here the use of select implies that the graduates were chosen from among other graduates by reason of superior intellect and ability.

Both select and selected are popular with advertisers, but select is frequently confused with selected.

Here are some examples from the Web:

“Hyundai offers discount on selected car models”
Appropriate use; some models are discounted, but not all.

“Remington Shaver Charging Cord for Select Models”
Inappropriate use; the sense is that the cord will work with some models, but not with all.

“LifeProof – New Case for Select Apple iPad Models”
Inappropriate use; the sense is that the case will fit some models, but not all.

Save select to mean something that is perceived to be above the ordinary in quality, cost, recognition, social status, or the like. The following examples use select in this sense:

NFL offensive rookie pick in select company

Special terms allow students to attend select schools in nearby states for a fraction of out-of-state tuition.

Bryan Sutton keeps select company with the very best musicians in bluegrass, those musicians who may have peers but no superiors.

The most select club in Hollywood: The Hitchcock Blondes

A third [executive] obtained permission from a select group of local influencers to list their names on his nonprofit’s letterhead. 

An NQDP plan must be restricted to a select group of management or highly compensated employees.

Dr. Jackson was among a select group of presidents and chancellors invited to participate.

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1 Response to “Select vs. Selected”

  • Roberta B.

    “‘Select’…..indicates that whatever was chosen out of a larger number was chosen on account of excellence or superiority”………except maybe when it comes to grading meat. Of the 11 USDA grades (for fat marbling), “select+” and “select -” are closer to the bottom of the list.

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