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'one' and 'ones'

Level: beginner

We use one (singular) and ones (plural):

See those two girls? Helen is the tall one and Jane is the short one.
Which is your car, the red one or the blue one?
My trousers are torn. I need some new ones.

See those two girls? Helen is the one on the left.
Let's look at the photographs – the ones you took in Paris.

after which in questions:

You can borrow a book. Which one do you want?
Which ones are yours?

one and ones 1


one and ones 2




Hello DiaLuna,

In 3, 'gets' is indeed the verb in a third-person singular form, which means that the answer, i.e. the subject of the verb, must be 'one'. This third-person singular form is used not only with the subjects 'it', 'she' and 'he' - it is used with any singular subject that is not 'I' or 'you'.

In 6, you could say 'these holidays' if you were referring to more than one holiday. If you did this, then the answer would of course be 'ones' instead of 'one'.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Please explain this point: If we have 6 pens and I want to ask "which one of these pens are red? Should I use plural noun and verb like "these pens " and "are"?or use singular N and V and ask "which one of this pen is red?" and also if instead of pen we have pants which form of question should be used?
Best Wishes

Hello shadyar,

In the case of pens, the correct sentence is 'Which one of these pens is red?'. The singular verb 'is' is used because it is essentially a question about one pen ('which one'), i.e. one pen among many.

'pants' is grammatically plural, whether it refers to one item of clothing or many. Since it can be ambiguous, we often speak about 'a pair of pants' to refer to one item of clothing - note that since 'pair' is grammatically singular, singular verbs are used. So you could say 'Which pants are red?' or 'Which pair of pants is red?'

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I have a little question. Can we leave out word "one" in this sentence that the meaning remains unchanged. So can we say "Which of these pens is red?". Thank you in advance

Hello swxswx,

Yes, that is fine. In fact, the sentence sounds better to my ears without 'one', though both versions are possible.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi This is so helpful.

Does the same rule applies for all other words which uses pair.

For instance:

A pair of scissors.
A pair of glasses.

Thank you / Rohi

Hi rohit541593,

Yes, that is correct.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

in the sentence number 4: why we used this and that? while we are don't know if the other thing near to us or not?

Hello islam imbabi,

'this' and 'that' are often used together like this to distinguish two options. Sometimes 'this' indicates an object that is closer and 'that' one that is more distant, but in many cases 'this' and 'that' are just used to distinguish between the two objects or options.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

actually i less undestanding about explanation above. Could you more describe it clearly?