'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

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one and ones 2

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Submitted by shadyar on Sat, 25/10/2014 - 07:29

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Hello 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

Submitted by Kirk on Sun, 26/10/2014 - 10:09

In reply to by shadyar

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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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by islam imbabi on Sat, 18/10/2014 - 14:17

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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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ayu pertiwi sutrisno on Wed, 24/09/2014 - 11:58

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

Hello ayu pertiwi sutrisno,

I'm not sure which part of the explanation is confusing for you. 'One' and 'ones' are used to avoid using the same noun twice in a sentence or group of sentences:

I have a blue book and a red book.

I have a blue book and a red one.

I have four dogs: two big dogs and two small dogs.

I have four dogs: two big ones and two small ones.

Can you pass me the cup, please?

Sure. The red cup or the blue cup?

Sure. The red one or the blue one?

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by José David Gor… on Mon, 28/07/2014 - 19:01

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great! 100-100 it is easy to understand it

Submitted by Clarrie on Thu, 08/05/2014 - 08:21

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Hey Team! I have a doubt. In 5th Sentence,it is mentioned like I need some new glasses. The ones i have at the moment are broken. Here how come Glasses refers to Spectacles. I dint get the point actually which i read from Comments. Glasses may refer to any one of the objects which made of Glass. Am i right? Kindly Clarify!!!

Hi Clarrie,

As you can see in the entry for glasses in our dictionary (see the right side of the screen where it say Cambridge Dictionaries Online), glasses is another way of saying spectacles. In fact, spectacles is not often used in modern British or American English - glasses is what people typically say.

The word glasses could also refer to two or more of the containers that we drink out of, but as far as I know, is not generally used to refer to items made of glass in general.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by galajdaerik on Tue, 29/04/2014 - 11:54

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I have got a question... When I was reading materials, there is written we use 'ones' with plural and I am not sure in exercise on 5th task. There is noun glasses, we understand it as ' two lenses in a frame that rests on the nose and ears. People wear glasses in order to be able to see better or to protect their eyes from bright light' by oxford dictionary definition... so it sounds like it's one object, but of course forms of this noun looks as it's in plural... there are other such nouns (information, etc...) I need some new glasses. The one I have at the moment are broken. - this is what I wrote in exercise above. It is wrong... why? Does it mean this what rests on our noses or glasses like container made of glass for drinking out of? Do we count such plural nouns such as glasses, information as one or more in sentences when we use the verb 'to be' (is, are)... it's only about form that there is plural form 'it ends with 's, es', so we will use ones? thank you very much for appropriate answers

Hi galajdaerik,

Sentence 5 refers to the object we wear to see better, and yes, when used with this meaning, glasses is always plural, and so any verbs or pronouns that refer to it must also be in a plural form. Therefore, you are right: "the ones I have at the moment are broken" is the correct answer.

The word information is a bit different, because it is an uncount noun. An uncount noun refers to something that could be considered plural, but which is grammatically singular. A singular verb is used with an uncount noun (e.g. "this information is useful"), but the pronoun one is not used to refer to an uncount noun (e.g. "the one I have is useful too").

I hope this helps!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by shahulvp (not verified) on Thu, 24/04/2014 - 08:10

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Hiii.... i am intermediate in english......please share me how can i improve my communication (conversation) skills..... where can i find the powefull conversation videos..... i really likes to watch videos...becoz i can easily remember the word uses in the videos.

Hello shahulvp,

The videos on LearnEnglish are all communicative in their own way: some use dialogues, other are monologues communicating only with the speaker, some are fictional, others documentary.  If you can be a little more specific about what you are looking for then we will be able to help you to find just the right thing.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by drphat on Sun, 20/04/2014 - 02:47

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Hello , everyone. I don't understand this sentences: I hope this holiday will be one to remember. What mean it is? Why we use " will be"?

Hello drphat,

I hope is commonly used to express a wish about something in the future and "one to remember" means "a holiday to remember". In this sentence, the speaker is saying that they hope that the holiday they are about to go on is very good, i.e. that it is a holiday that they will fondly remember for many years.

I hope this helps - please let us know if not.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Submitted by Jamsai Kamonrat on Fri, 04/04/2014 - 18:43

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hello everyone I'm new user I like this test

Submitted by Jacob Alpa on Wed, 02/04/2014 - 14:08

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I am having problem opening the question page.

Hi Jacob,

Do you mean the exercises? I could see them just now, so it appears they are working. What kind of device are you using? Does it have the latest version of Flash installed? These exercises are currently made with Flash, and so do not work on some devices (e.g. iPhones or iPads). We are working on a solution to this, but it has not yet been implemented.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ZahidShaikh on Fri, 28/03/2014 - 17:44

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Which exercise you guys are talking about. Where I can find the exercise

Hi ZahidShaikh,

There is an exercise above (titled Pronouns: one/ones). What kind of device are you using? If you're using a tablet or phone, you need to have Flash installed to see most of our games and exercises. If you have a device with iOS, I'm afraid you won't be able to see it. We're working on a solution to this and hope to have it solved in the next few months, but for now you may have to change devices to see the exercises.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by aimee_auzzie on Wed, 19/02/2014 - 11:34

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Please help me to answer my curiosity Dear Kirk. on above exercise, point number 2 2. The new mobiles are much lighter the old ....(ones) Question: why the correct answer is singular (one)? my answer was plural (ones) because I saw previous sentence are plural (new mobiles are.......) Thank you very much :)

Hello aimee_auzzie,

I've checked the exercise and the correct answer to Q2 is 'ones', not 'one'.  Could you check again please?  Perhaps you misread it.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by aru.media on Thu, 13/02/2014 - 15:04

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Hi, Sir is this sentence is correct? I need some new glasses. The ones i have at the moment are broken. when i read the sentence it seems to be incomplete... arumugam

Submitted by Peter M. on Thu, 13/02/2014 - 21:38

In reply to by aru.media

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Hi Arumugam,

The sentence is fine, and not incomplete at all.  If you wish to tell us why you thought it was incomplete then we would be happy to explain further.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by aru.media on Fri, 14/02/2014 - 05:57

In reply to by aru.media

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Hi peter, "The ones i have at the moment are broken". starts with "the ones"? when i read this it's look like incomplete sentence.

Hi Arumugam,

As is explained above, one or ones are often used to avoid repeating other nouns. In sentence 5, the ones takes the place of and refers to the glasses in the previous sentence.

I can understand that it may sound strange to you, but please know that it is very common in both written and spoken English!

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by krishna0891 on Mon, 11/11/2013 - 10:42

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what is the meaning of the question - "who did you see?" is this same as "whom did you see?" and i've heard that "DO" is not used in questions starting with who, what and which as their subject. ex: what happened? and "DO" is used if - who, what and which is object of the sentence (question). could you please explain them with few examples...... Thank you..... KRISHNA

Hi Krishna,

The word whom is used to refer to the object of a verb, but is rarely used in informal modern English. So the two questions you ask about mean the same thing, but the first one is the way this question is asked most of the time.

What you write about the auxiliary verb do in questions is correct. Continuing with the example you gave, in the following questions:

Who did you see at the cafe?  (who is the object and you is the subject of the verb)
Who saw you at the cafe?  (who is the subject and you is the object of the verb)

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask us.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by babymavi on Sun, 10/11/2013 - 00:39

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i love this topic :)

Submitted by Dewi Iriani on Tue, 18/06/2013 - 18:57

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its really helped for who want to knows what the diffrence between one and ones

Submitted by salsabile on Sat, 25/05/2013 - 23:40

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hii!! thanks 4 ur working it is really verry interesting & nice

Submitted by yun samaniah on Fri, 24/05/2013 - 18:37

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iam little bit confused about using article one of those
may i ask what's is the rght one between one of those factories are soybean factory or one of those factories is soybean factory?
thanks

Hello yun samaniah,

The clue is in the phrase: 'one of those...' tells us that you are talking about one thing, not many, so the verb should be singular:

'One of those factories is a soybean factory.'

You need an indefinite article as well because it is the first time it has been mentioned.  If you had talked about the soybean factory before then you might say 'the'.  For example:

'I work in a soybean factory.  One of those factories is the soybean factory.'

I hope that clears it up for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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Hello Arnold 9595!

 

Thanks for your kind words - great to hear that you find the website so useful!

 

Good luck with your studies!

 

JeremyBee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by rihana on Sun, 24/03/2013 - 06:19

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Hello grgumesh!

 

Thanks for your kind words! I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay on LearnEnglish.

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

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