Although I have used PHP I wouldn’t say I chose it, because I didn’t really have a choice - it was the language that software I was using was built-in so had to use it.
I did choose Ruby and Elixir tho
However, I think nowadays the liberty to choose is dwindling. Back then many of us were making web apps and you could use lots of different languages to get the job done. Ruby, Python, PHP, Java, etc it didn’t really matter for the most part.
Things are different now because even some of the more specialised areas are actually now quite mainstream - maybe even as much as building web apps was back then because the internet has continued to explode. If you want to realistically do ML, your options are limited. If you want to do mobile apps, your options are limited. If you want to create SPAs, your options are limited. If you want to build massively scalable fault tolerant systems, you options are even smaller still haha!
Using the right tool for the job, in the sense that your options are more limited, is more prevalent now in mainstream than it was 5 10 years ago. Hence I’ve resided to the fact that I need to stop being picky and in Robert’s words “RTFM and get over it” (however I will say that the moment realistic choice becomes an option again, syntax will almost certainly play a role - we are just human after all, and we all have preferences on things like this).