Is It “Check the Box” or “Tick the Box”? (UK/US Statistics)

The phrases “check the box” and “tick the box” are very similar, which often causes some confusion surrounding their appropriate use and any differences in meaning. Therefore, in this article, we will highlight the meaning behind these phrases, their correct usage, and their differences.

What Is The Difference Between “Check The Box” And “Tick The Box”?

In short, there truly isn’t much difference between the phrases “check the box” and “tick the box”. These phrases clearly let someone know to select a specific box or answer – the only difference is a “check” is generally a checkmark and a tick can often be any mark.

“Check the Box” or “Tick the Box”

This means that we will use an actual checkmark for a “check the box”, while we could use an “x”, a checkmark, or simply a computer-generated click for a “tick the box”.

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What Does “Check The Box” Mean?

Generally speaking, “check the box” is considered to mean that there is a box or boxes for an answer or selection, and we are supposed to fill the box of our choosing with a checkmark, to signify our proper selection.

We will commonly see “check the box” or “check a box” used in association with hard copies. An example of these hard copies would be on a test, form, official document, etc.

Here are a few examples that we can go over, that highlight the use of this specific phrase:

  • Please, place a check in the box for the answer you view as being correct.
  • Please, check the box for the candidate you wish to vote for.
  • It’s important to put a check in the box, not an “x”.
  • Could you please check the box next to your favorite selection.
  • The check in the box is your way of voting, so do so carefully.
  • You can check the box next to your favorite flavor.
  • I am not sure how to properly check the box.
  • If I check the box, does this mean I have voted for someone?
  • Please, carefully place your check in the box, as you only receive one form.
  • It’s important that your check in the box is legible to the judges.

What Does “Tick The Box” Mean?

The phrase “tick the box” is considered to mean that there is a box or boxes for an answer or selection, and we are supposed to click it to mark our selections. Generally, this mark is also a checkmark, but it can also be an “x”.

We will commonly see “tick the box” or “tick a box” used in association with online platforms. An example of this may be in terms of an online form, an online survey, or an online questionnaire.

We will now look over the following examples that include the use of this particular phrase in a sentence:

  • Place a tick in the box to confirm that you have read the terms and conditions.
  • Please, tick the box to confirm your individual gender or gender identity.
  • Tick the box to confirm your marital status.
  • You will place a tick in the box to confirm our selection with us.
  • The following section will require you to tick the boxes for the answers you want to select.
  • A tick in the box is very similar to a click in the correct box.
  • We can also say a tick in the box when we have completed a task.
  • You got a full tick in the box for that task -good job!
  • You will tick the box for the virtual candidate you wish to select.
  • The tick in the box that you place is entirely anonymous, so you don’t need to worry.

Are “Check The Box” And “Tick The Box Interchangeable?

Despite commonly seeing “check the box” used with written paperwork and “tick the box” used with online forms, these two phrases can certainly be used interchangeably and without much confusion. Both phrases are requesting that a selection is made by marking a box.

Therefore, whether we are to ask someone to place a “check the box” or “tick the box”, they should understand what is meant by our statement, without any question. Much of the time, a “tick” is viewed as being a “check” or checkmark – making these phrases even more similar.

Is “Check The Box” Or “Tick The Box” Used The Most?

As we can see by the data presented by Google Ngram Viewer, in the English language, the phrase “check the box” is used more commonly in the present day. The difference in use between “check the box” and “tick the box” is decently substantial in the present day.

“Check the Box” or “Tick the Box” english usage

However, this was not always the case, with the data showing that from the 1500s to the mid-1940s, neither of these phrases were used. This is more than likely due to a lack of in-person forms being filled out and a lack of online surveys, forms, etc.

Moreover, in the 1950s, we can see that both of these phrases began to see more use. “Check the box” has had a large peak of commonality up until the early 2000s, when its popularity in use began to fall. On the other hand, “tick the box” has very slowly, yet steadily, risen in use over the last few decades.

Are “Check The Box” And “Tick The Box” Used Differently In The UK And The US?

When looking at the data provided by US Google Ngram Viewer and UK Google Ngram Viewer, we’re able to see that there’s a noticeable difference in the use of each phrase. In the UK, “tick the box” is more common, while in the US it’s “check the box”.

“Check the Box” or “Tick the Box” American English
“Check the Box” or “Tick the Box” British English

In terms of America, “check the box” is used far more commonly than “tick the box”. Whereas in Britain, the difference in use between these two phrases is quite marginal in the present day.

“Check In The Box” And “Tick In The Box” Synonyms

We will now be going over some applicable and proper synonyms for the phrases “check the box” and “tick the box”:

  • Fill In The Box
  • Mark The Box
  • Select The Box
  • Click The Box
  • Cross Out The Box