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One And Ones

by Chathrine Thandar Oo

posted in Reference and Education

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We can use 'one' instead of repeating a singular countable noun when it is clear from the context what we are talking about:
Example: 'Can I get you a drink?' 'It's okay, I've already got one (= a drink).'
Example: 'Is this your umbrella?' 'No, mine' s the big blue one (= umbrella).'
'Ones' can be used instead of repeating a plural noun:
Example: I think his best poems are his early ones (= poems).
Example: People who smoke aren't the only ones (= people) affected by lung cancer.
We don't use one/ ones instead of an uncountable noun:
Example: If you need any more paper, I'll bring you some (not... one/ ones.)
Example: I asked him to get apple juice, but he got orange (not... orange one/ ones.)
Notice that we can't use ones without additional information (e.g.small ones,ones with blue laces). Instead, we use some. Compare:
Example(1): We need new curtains. Okay, let's buy green ones this time./... ones with flowers on.
Example(2): We need new curtains. Okay, let's buy some ( not... let's buy ones.)
We don't use one/ ones:after a - instead we leave out a:
Example: Have we got any lemons? I need one for a meal I'm cooking ( not... need a one... )
We don't use one/ones:after nouns used as adjectives:
Example: I thought I'd put the keys in my trouser pocket, but in fact they were in my jacket pocket (not... my jacket one.)
Instead of using one/one after personal pronouns (my, your, her, etc.) we prefer mine, yours, hers etc. However, a personal pronoun + one/ones is often heard in formal speech:
Example: I'd really like a watch like yours (or '... like your one.' in formal speech)
We can leave out one/ ones: after which:
Example: When we buy medicines, we have no way of knowing which (ones) contain sugar.
We can leave out one/ ones: after superlatives:
Example: Look at that pumpkin! It's the biggest (one) I've seen this year.
Example: If you buy a new car, remember that the most economical (ones) are often the smallest.
After this, that, these and those:
Example: The last test I did was quite easy, but some parts of this (one) are really difficult.
Example: Help yourself to grapes. These (ones) are the sweetest, but those (ones) taste best.
After either, neither, another, each,the first/ second/ last, etc. (the forms without one/ ones and more formal):
Example: Karl pointed to the paintings and said I could take either (one) (or... either of them).
Example: She cleared away the cups, washed each (one) thoroughly, and put them on the shelf.
We don't leave out one/ ones: after the, the only, the main, and every:
Example: When you cook clams you shouldn't eat the ones that don't open.
Example: After I got the glasses home, I found that every one was broken.
After adjectives:
Example: My shoes were so uncomfortable that I had to go out today and buy some new ones.
However, after colour adjectives we can often leave out one/ ones in answers:
Example: 'Have you decided which jumper to buy?' 'Yes, I think I'll take the blue (one).'
About the Author: I hope this article will give some knowledge about the usage of one and ones. And also I hope students can study the usage of languages by substituting one/ ones in their daily speech.
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