'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 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

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

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

Hello Jude

Both sentences are grammatically correct but mean different things. What is the idea that you want to express here? The first one would suggest a score of 1 on a scale of numbers, for example 1 to 10. The second suggests he is the one chosen to do or be something.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sNjay PursNani on Tue, 20/08/2019 - 03:56

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Recognize the people, the ones who are with you when you are alone and the ones who call you when they are alone. Is the use of ones correct in this sentence?

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?

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

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.

Submitted by Kirk 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.

Submitted by manpeace on Sat, 18/11/2017 - 11:34

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Hi, Sometimes I see sentences like: "One could do...", "One could see that the sky is blue". I would like to have some explanations about the use of "one" in this case. Thanks in advance

Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 18/11/2017 - 16:27

In reply to by manpeace

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Hello manpeace,

In these cases, 'one' is a gender-neural indefinite pronoun, a little bit like 'on' in French or 'man' in German. It's not so commonly used in informal speech, but obviously as you have seen, it it's still in use in some contexts.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team 

Submitted by franzveg on Mon, 18/09/2017 - 19:58

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Hello, I wrote your example again without one and ones. Is it wrong do that? ---8

Submitted by Kirk on Wed, 20/09/2017 - 07:29

In reply to by franzveg

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Hello Franz,

You're right that you can't remove 'one/s' from the last two sentences. I'm afraid you can't remove it from the first two sentences, either.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ola Jamal on Mon, 11/09/2017 - 16:54

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Hello, In example 2 (Which is your car, the red one or the blue one?) can I say (Which is your car, the red or the blue?) or that is wrong?