'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
Average: 4 (48 votes)

Submitted by oscar7mx on Mon, 08/04/2024 - 21:55

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Hi dear BC team, regarding one/ones topic I have an example, would you mind to assist on this please, 

Choose  the correct answer 

Would you prefer an _______ seat or a __ ____?

A) window …. aisle
B) aisle…. Window
C) aisle…. Window one

My answer was B, however it was marked as wrong, the correct one should be C. 
What do you think about it? 
Thank you so much 

Oscar 

 

Hi oscar7mx,

It's true that people omit the 'one' a lot in sentences like this:

Would you like a blue shirt too or just the red [one]?

I'll have two pizzas with pepperoni and two vegetarian [ones], please.

I think it's more common in less formal contexts but it's perfectly OK, so I would say that both (b) and (c) are acceptable here. That said, the task is clearly designed to test knowledge of the use of 'one' and 'ones', so there is a demonstrative element here (showing what you know). Also, since the question specifies one correct answer and (c) is clearly correct I think the sensible thing would be to choose that if you saw this question in a test, for example. Finally, there appear to be two lines in the second space, suggesting two words. I would, however, question why 'Window' is given a capital letter - that is clearly incorrect.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by howtosay_ on Mon, 11/09/2023 - 01:15

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Hello, dear teachers and team !

Could you please help me with the following:

1. The funniest advertisement is with children.

2. The funniest advertisement is one with children.

Could the first sentence be possible if the meaning is about advertisement on the whole, not about a particular one? Could both options be correct?

I'm so much grateful for your precious help and thank you very much indeed for your help with this isuue in advance!

Hi howtosay_,

Actually, both sentences have that meaning of advertisement on the whole, something similar to "The funniest type of advertisement is ...". One of the uses of the definite article "The" is to refer to all the things referred to by a noun, e.g. The kangaroo is found only in Australia (this refers to all kangaroos, not any specific one). 

Both sentences are correct.

If you are referring to a specific advertisement, it should be --> The funniest advertisement is the one with children. Otherwise, the sentences seem to be more general statements about advertising.

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Khangvo2812 on Tue, 01/08/2023 - 18:10

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A:which of them is Helen?
B: She is the one who has long black hair and is wearing a suit.

Could you check these sentences for grammar?

Hello Khangvo2812,

Those are fine. Often we'd just say 'She is the one with black hair ...', but what you wrote is perfectly correct.

All the best,
Kirk
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Khangvo2812 on Tue, 01/08/2023 - 18:06

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Hello,
Could you check these sentences for grammar please?
Even though I like this cleaning robot a lot, there are three things that I'm not satisfied with. One of them is this product takes up a lot of spaces which make it unsuitable to be used in my bedroom. The other one is this product only comes in two colours which are black and white. This makes the product itself look boring.

Hello Khangvo2812,

We're happy to help you with individual sentences, especially when you tell us which pat you are unsure about, but I'm afraid we don't correct our users' texts. I'll give you some feedback on this little text now, but please know that we can't continue doing this regularly.

'spaces' is not correct; instead you should use the uncountable form 'space'. It's not wrong as it is, but after 'unsuitable', I'd just say 'for my bedroom'. There should be a comma before 'which'. 'look' is a little unusual here; I would just say 'is'.

All the best,
Kirk
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by howtosay_ on Sat, 29/07/2023 - 01:19

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Hello, dear teachers and team!

Could you please tell me if two following sentences are possible:

1. The best location of a flat is near the supermarket.

2. The best location of a flat is one near the supermarket.

I'm very very grateful for your important work and constant help and thank you very much for the answer to this comment beforehand!!!

Hi howtosay_,

Yes, both sentences are fine. However, I would say "location for a flat" (instead of "of").

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Submitted by dana_anika on Fri, 09/06/2023 - 20:29

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Hello! Could you please confirm that I can use “ones” with plural-only nouns like “clothes”? An example sentence: “Most people cite a desire to show off their clothes as a reason for buying new ones.” Does this sentence work without “ones”?

Submitted by sambilal on Tue, 25/04/2023 - 13:25

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Hi Peter, can I use "the ones who know ..." without "the" like in "ones who know or ones knowing ..." ? Thank you in advance.

Hello sambilal,

If I understand your question correctly, the answer is no. But if you'd like to post a complete sentence -- ideally with some context -- we can let you know for sure.

All the best,
Kirk
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by howtosay_ on Fri, 03/03/2023 - 18:55

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Hello!

Could you please clarify the following:

Are both options possible?

1. Which flowers do you want? These or those?

2. Which car is yours? This or that?

Is it possible ti omit "one" and "ones" in these examples?

Thank you so much for your constant support in learning English and I'm grateful for your answer to this post beforehand!!!

Hello howtosay_,

1. Both are possible. When used together in the same context, 'these' generally refers to things closer to the speaker and 'those' refers to things further away.

2. The same is true here. It's really context dependent.

 

We usually say 'this one' and 'that one' rather than just 'this' and 'that'. The plural forms are often used without 'ones', but you can also say 'these ones' and 'those ones'.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by g-ssan on Tue, 22/11/2022 - 07:42

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Sir ,
What’s the difference between ones and once ?

Hello g-ssan,

'once' is an adverb that means 'one time', e.g. 'How many times have you seen Star Wars? -- Just once.'

As explained above, 'ones' is a pronoun.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by JameK on Wed, 28/09/2022 - 09:57

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Sir, I would like to know about the difference between a and one.
If I have one brother and sister, should I use a or one.Please explain me Sir.

Hello JameK,

Most of the time we use 'a'.

We use 'one' when we want to emphasise that we are not talking about two or more. In other words, we use 'one' when the number is important for some reason. For example, if someone else has been talking about having two brothers then I might use 'one' in order to contrast my family with theirs. You might also think of a situation where someone is offering you something. For example, a friend is offering me some biscuits but I'm not very hungry so I say 'OK, I'll have one' to show that I don't want more than that. It's very much dependent on the context and the speaker's intention.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by rajk on Wed, 24/08/2022 - 13:54

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Sir i have a small doubt, is it correct if we say i have got two books, which one do you want ? Instead of i have two books , which ones do you want ? When we want him to take only one out ot two , And if is incorrect then what will be correct sentence ?

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Sun, 04/07/2021 - 18:08

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Hello team. Can we have possessive of the plural "ones"? Is it correct to say "ones's cars"? Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The pronoun 'one' has no plural form but the word can be used as a pro-form, which means a word which can substitute for another word in particular contexts to avoid repetition. With this use a possessive form would be possible, though it would be an extremely rare occurrence requiring a very unusual context. For example:

Do you see the two groups of people? I want to speak to the ones on the left. Try to get those ones' attention if you can.

The correct form for plural nouns ending in s is s' [Four dogs' tails].

When a singular noun ends in s you can use s's or s' [Thomas's toy / Thomas' toy].

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Ahmed Imam

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Sun, 23/05/2021 - 12:46

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Hello. Could you please help me? Which pronoun is correct? - One's parents know what is best for (one - him). Thank you.

Hi Ahmed Imam,

One is the best answer here. Him is grammatically correct, but only suitable if the speaker is referring to a person who is male, e.g., talking about how to raise a son (specifically a son, rather than a daughter). One is not limited to only male persons.

But using one is typical of a very formal style. A more common way to say this would be (Your) parents know what is best for you.

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Samin on Thu, 28/01/2021 - 06:19

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Hello can you please tell me what is the correct form of loaf and shelf as plural noun Loafs ,shelfs/ loaves,shelves And why
In English If a word ends with F, in plural you change it to V. Like thief > thieves.

Hello Raf,

That is true for some words, but there are many words that end in 'f' that have a regular plural ending. For example: 'roof' ('roofs'), 'belief' ('beliefs') and 'chef' ('chefs').

It's a good idea to check the spelling in a dictionary when you have any doubt.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by shnx on Tue, 17/11/2020 - 12:27

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hi! Is it grammatically correct to say "The job of the government accountants intrigued me the most as they are said to be THE ONES who manage and monitor public funds, maintain fiscal transparency, and combat white-collar crimes and other fraudulent activities."

Hello shnx,

Yes, 'the ones' is used correctly in this sentence. I'd suggest putting a comma after 'the most' and before 'as' -- when 'as' means 'because', we generally put a comma before it.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Melvin1234 on Sun, 23/08/2020 - 04:01

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Hello, I got confused with this sentence. Those four volcanoes are one of the most active.

Hello Melvin1234,

I'm not surprised you got confused. The sentence is not grammatical.

You could say this:

Those four volcanoes are some of the most active (in the region/in the world etc)

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Illia Zhurakivsky on Fri, 31/07/2020 - 15:53

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Hi, Is it possible to use one or ones after a numeral?, for instance London has 3 advantages, Berlin 2 ones and Paris 4 ones

Hi Illia Zhurakivsky,

 

One is a pronoun and we don't use pronouns after numbers. So, just as we don't say 'three theys' or 'four yous', so we don't use 'one' after numbers.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by 19Dd21 on Thu, 25/06/2020 - 23:08

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Hi guys , Question... Is it grammatically correct to say for example? There is no certainty, only adventure. Hope good one's ahead. I'm not sure is it possible to short IS to 's in this case and if possible explain me could we always short IS to 's like HE IS five , He's five
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 26/06/2020 - 06:48

In reply to by 19Dd21

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Hi 19Dd21,

There's no problem with the contraction of is, but the sentence is not grammatical for other reasons. You could say something like this:

I hope a good one's ahead.

I hope there's a good one ahead.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Nanajiman on Tue, 21/07/2020 - 05:09

In reply to by Peter M.

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Hello sir,sorry,how to use could and would,thank you

Submitted by TCGopal on Tue, 21/04/2020 - 06:59

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Sometimes there can be ambiguity in determining whether the subject is singular or plural. For example, which of the two following sentences is the correct one? 1. One of the items that helps us is the inward attention. 2. One of the items that help us is the inward attention. In other words, does the 'that' applies to the 'One' or 'the items'? Thank you.

Hello TCGopal,

Both forms are possible here.

 

One of the items that helps us is the inward attention.

There are many items; one of them helps us and this distinguishes it from the others.

A similar construction would be this:

One of the children that has red hair...

Only one child has red hair.

 

One of the items that help us is the inward attention.

There are many items which help us and the speaker is talking about one of them.

A similar construction would be this

One of the children that have red hair...

A number of children have red hair.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by marcinpagi111 on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 07:47

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Hello, I've got a question. Are "ones" and "the" necessary in the sentence below, do they change the meaning in any way (especially "the"): In my opinion artificial intelligence has more negative aspects than (THE/-) positive (ONES/-).

Hello marcinpagi111

It's not correct to use 'the' here. I would recommend that you use 'ones'. Although it is possible to omit it, most of the time it would be included.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by joshuadipal on Wed, 05/02/2020 - 18:46

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Hi everyone. Can anyone help me clear out this doubt? Do we have to use "one" in the following sentence #2 or is it optional?= 1. The Nile River is the longest in the world 2. The Nile River is the longest one in the world Which of the above sentences is the most accurate one grammatically speaking? If you follow the rules explained in the beginning of this page we would have to use "one" after "the longgest" because it is an adjective, it is true that it is a superlative, but still an adjective anyway. My confusion is that if we're using River in the sentence isn't it a little redundant to say "one" since we already know we're talking about the river? The same happens when we say: Yours is the black one, mine is the cheapest one. Isn't repeating "one" a little redundant in this example or it is exactly the right way to say it? I'm a teacher of English as a second language so I just want to make sure I'm explaining this topic the right way and giving my students the best examples in order to not confuse them. Sometimes nonnative speakers have these ideas that might not even be true or perceived the same way by native speakers. I appreciate your help and remarks.

Hello joshuadipal,

We do not need to use one or ones after every adjective. We use them when we need to avoid repeating a noun or when we want to distinguish between items within a particular set (i.e. saying this one not that one).

 

One is often optional if the context is sufficiently clear. For example:

I have three books I can lend you. This is the longest (book/one) and this is the funniest (book/one), while this is the most interesting (book/one).

 

Both of your sentences about the Nile are fine, but the first is more natural-sounding because the context makes the use of 'one' unnecessary.

 

In your second example, the second 'one' can also be omitted as it is clear that the second adjective refers to the same kind of item as the first:

Yours is the black one, mine is the cheapest (one).

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by EvenPhteven on Thu, 19/12/2019 - 12:39

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What about the use of "these/those ones"? My little brother tells me it's incorrect, but I don't believe him. Even though it sounds awkward, I can't think of a reason it should be wrong. Is it?

Hello EvenPhteven,

The phrases 'these ones' and 'those ones' are perfectly fine. For example:

Can you pass me the cups, please?

Which? These ones or those ones?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Jude on Wed, 11/09/2019 - 14:15

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Can you please explain the grammar of ONE in the following sentences and which one is rigt or wrong Jude, he is a one Jude, he is the one