'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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Average: 4 (26 votes)

Submitted by Rhyna on Sun, 02/12/2018 - 15:05

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Hello, could you please clarify two cases regarding usage of 'one/ones' for me: 1. Can we use constructions like 'I wanted to eat one apple but ate two ones instead' In particular, is it correct to say 'two ones' (with 'ones' acting as a substitute of the noun), or we should just use 'two'? 2. 'I wanted to eat one apple but ate two of them instead'. Can this sentense with 'two of them' be used instead of the prevoius one, or it has a different meaning?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 06:40

In reply to by Rhyna

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Hello Rhyna,

We would not say 'two ones'. We would most likely say just 'two', but 'two of them' is also possible.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter, thanks for a quick reply! It may be off-topic for this thread, but now I see I made one more systematic mistake in my comment above. Both my questions in there have two parts divided by 'or', and each part is a separate sub-question. "Can we use... or we should just use". I suppose the second part should also have the reverse word order ('should we use') like in regular questions. Am I right? I'm a Russian speaker, and in Russian all questions have the normal word order like in affirmative sentences, so it may be confusing. And when I make such a type of questions, with two individual questions in it separated by 'or', the second part always sounds a bit affirmative to me, as if I was convinced that the answer to it would be positive:)

Hello Rhyna,

Yes, you are right. Both parts should be phrased as questions:

Can I use... or should I use... ?

 

Well done!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Abfalter Cristian on Thu, 01/11/2018 - 17:17

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Hello ! I have a question about the first sentence: Is it wrong if I say : The younger is four and the older is seven (without ''one''). Thank you in advance .

Hello Abfalter Cristian,

In English, adjectives are not used to substitute nouns in the way they are in some other languages. I don't know Romanian, but in Spanish, for example, using an adjective in this way is common.

So in the first sentence, the best thing is to use 'one' in both gaps. You might be able to find examples where this rule is not followed, but in general I would not recommend it.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by pencil on Mon, 22/10/2018 - 09:27

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hello Could I use Which for people as well? As: Did you see the girl over there? Which one? The one with a pony or with short hair? thanks in advance.
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Mon, 22/10/2018 - 19:02

In reply to by pencil

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Hello pencil,

Yes, that is correct and perfectly natural.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lijo John on Mon, 10/09/2018 - 17:45

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Hello, Does this topic comes under "Indefinite Pronouns" or it is different?
Hello Peter, Thank you for the clarification. If possible can you envelop all the indefinite pronouns together to avoid future confusion?. Also, it will help to avoid pupil to refer different websites for one subject.

Hello Lijo John,

Thank you for the suggestion. We'll make a note of it for the next time we review the site organisation.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by FirasAkkad on Wed, 07/02/2018 - 10:06

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In the following examples: (used in the rule of one / ones) 1- See those two girls? Helen is the tall one and Jane is the short one. 2- See those two girls. Helen is the one on the left. My question is, why did you use a question mark after the first clause in the first example while you did not use it in the second?

Hello FirasAkkad,

That was a mistake! It should end in a question mark and I've now fixed it.

Thanks very much for taking the time to point this out to us.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by foofighters12 on Mon, 22/01/2018 - 20:16

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The exercises are very helpful.