Difference between Select and Elect

Key Difference: Select and elect are often used interchangeably, referring to the act to choose or pick out from the choices or options. However, elected is specifically related to the selection that is made on the basis of voting.

Select and elect are often confused, and one may find it difficult to decide that which one will be apt to use in a sentence. They both are generally synonymous except in one scenario. If an entity is selected on the basis of likings from maximum number of people in a group, community or in a country, then the elect word is preferred for this kind of selection.

“Presidents are selected, not elected.”

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

These words by 32th President of the United States strongly demarcate select and elect. Let us find the differences in this article.

Dictionary.com defines select as

  • To choose in preference to another or others; pick out.
  •  To make a choice; pick.

Dictionary.com defines elect as

  •  To choose or select by vote, as for an office: to elect a mayor. Antonyms: reject.
  •  To determine in favor of (a method, course of action, etc.).
  •  To pick out; choose

Thus, we can say that both the words are synonymous. However, elect is specifically used in context to a selection by voting. Voting refers to a decision making process in which casting votes decides the selection. Let us consider a few examples:-

1.     She selected her dresses for the wedding.

2.     He can select a subject of his choice.

3.     He was elected as the President of the union.

4.     We should always elect strong leaders.

Select is mostly used in reference to a choice made by an individual, whereas elect generally refers to the selection made by a group of people, keeping in view, the liking of maximum people. Election is the process by which people elect a person who will hold a certain office. Therefore, elections play a vital role in any democratic society or country.

Image Courtesy: mycareercounselling.blogspot.com, scientificamerican.com

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