Uses of One and Ones
Uses of One and Ones
When it is clear from the context what we are talking about, then:
We can use the pronoun ‘one’ instead of repeating a singular countable noun.
We can use the pronoun ‘ones’ instead of repeating a plural countable noun
‘Is this your car?’ ‘No, mine’s the white one.’ (one = car)
People who drink aren’t the only ones vulnerable to liver failure. (ones = people)
One – singular; Ones – plural
These chairs are good but those one are excellent. (incorrect)
These chairs are good but those ones are excellent. (correct)
We don’t use ‘one/ones’ in place of an uncountable noun. We rather use some, any or nothing at all.
If you require any more paper, they will bring you one. (incorrect – we cannot use one/ones for uncountable noun paper)
If you require any more paper, they will bring you some. (correct)
We asked for water, but they did not had one. (incorrect – we cannot use one/ones for uncountable noun water)
We asked for water, but they did not had any. (correct)
a/an + adjective + singular countable noun → a/an + adjective + one
some + adjective + plural countable noun → some + adjective + ones
My shirt is dirty. I will get a clean one. (a clean one = a clean shirt)
These fruits have gone bad. Let’s buy some fresh ones. (some fresh ones = some fresh fruits)
‘another’ is basically a merger of two words – an + other
I have seen some bad reviews of this hotel, so we should rather look for another one. (another one = another hotel)
Concept 3: Ones + Specific Information
If we are using ‘ones’, then we must provide some extra information, i.e. we can’t use ‘ones’ without additional information. We need to specify which ‘ones’ we mean. For example, big ones, ones with red flowers.
If we have no other information to offer, then we use ‘some’, instead of ‘ones’.
We need to buy new sheets. Let us buy ones. (incorrect)
We need to buy new sheets. Let us buy saffron ones this time. (correct)
We need to buy new sheets. Let us buy ones with stars on this time. (correct)
We need to buy new sheets. Let us buy some. (correct)
Concept 4: Difference between one’s / ones / once
Do not use one’s in place of ones and vice-versa.
Let’s see the difference between ones, one’s and once.
One’s – it’s a possessive adjective, used to show possession
Ones – it’s an indefinite pronoun, plural of ‘one’
Once – an adverb, that means - one time
How successful a person will be in life depends on ones ability to cope with failures. (incorrect)
How successful a person will be in life depends on one’s ability to cope with failures. (correct; one’s ability – the ability that one has)
One’s bitten twice shy. (incorrect)
Once bitten twice shy. (correct; once adverb)
Concept 5: Two uses of One’s
One’s may mean two things:
- one’s as a possessive adjective, used to show possession
- one’s as a contraction of ‘one is’
No one’s listening to you. (correct; here one’s just means ‘one is’; it Is not showing possession)
No one is listening to you. (correct)
That gift is for your brother. This one’s for you. (correct; here one’s just means ‘one is’; it Is not showing possession)
That gift is for your brother. This one is for you. (correct)
Concept 6: One is Indefinite Pronoun
‘one’ is an indefinite pronoun, i.e. it refers to an indefinite thing.
So, we cannot use ‘one’ to refer to a definite person or thing, e.g. the bike, my car, or someone’s name (say Annie). In such cases, we will use ‘it’ instead of ‘one’.
“I need a comb. Do you have one?” (a comb - indefinite thing, because any comb will do. He is not asking for a specific comb.)
“The air conditioner stopped working. We should get it checked by a mechanic.” (the air conditioner – definite thing, because we know which air conditioner we are talking about)
So, the difference between ‘one” and ‘it’ is somewhat like indefinite article ‘a/an’ and definite article ‘the’. We use ‘a/an’ for things that are indefinite or not specified, and ‘the’ for something or someone definite/specific. As you would have noticed in the examples given above - a comb, The air conditioner.
Concept 7: Pronoun for One
If ‘one’ is working as the subject in a sentence, then to refer to that subject we use:
- Possessive pronoun - one’s and
- Objective pronoun – oneself
One should do one’s duty oneself.
One should keep one’s promise.
One must love his country. (incorrect)
One must love one’s country. (correct)
When not to use One/Ones
We don’t use one/ones in the following cases:
- We don’t use ‘one/ones’ after ‘a’. So, we drop ‘a’.
Have you got any lemon? I need a one for a cocktail I am serving. (incorrect)
Have you got any lemon? I need one for a cocktail I am serving. (correct)
We don’t use ‘one/ones’ after nouns, which are used as adjectives.
Generally I keep the tickets in my shirt pocket, but that day I put them in my jeans one. (incorrect)
Generally I keep the tickets in my shirt pocket, but that day I put them in my jeans pocket. (correct)
We prefer Possessive pronouns (mine, yours, hers, etc.), rather than Personal pronouns (my, your, her, etc.) + one/ones.
I would really like to gift you a necklace like hers.
When we must use One/Ones
We must use one/ones in the following cases:
We must use one/ones after the, the only, the main, and every.
When you are wine tasting, you should mark the ones that taste funny.
After I got home, I found that every one was sleeping.
We must use one/ones after adjectives.
After a few months in lockdown, my shirts became so tight that I had to buy some new ones. (new - adjective)
When we may or may not use One/Ones
We may or may not use one/ones in the following cases:
- We may (or may not) leave out one/ones after ‘which’.
When we buy diamonds, we have no way of knowing which (ones) are original. (ones = diamonds)
- We may (or may not) leave out one/ones after demonstrative pronouns (i.e. this, that, these, and those).
The last comedian was awesome, but this (one) is boring.
Extra Books and Tools
Though the matter on our website is in-depth and comprehensive enough for the demands of most of the aptitude exams, but it may feel daunting for the same reasons. Moreover, some learners prefer paperback books over websites.
So, if you are a beginner level English learner, and prefer books, you may explore the following English Grammar books too.
1. Wren & Martin - This book has been around for long and is still considered one of the best. Though many concepts have not been dealt with in much depth here, but beginners may find it a breeze to read. Once you are done with it, the content on our website will work as a rich add-on. If you are getting this book, make sure you get the key to its exercises too.
Links for readers from USA, UK, Canada, and other countries:
High School English Grammar and Composition Paperback
Key to Wren and Martin
Link for Indian readers: Wren and Martin
2. More advanced learners may refer to the following books. However, buy them only if you must. Most of your English Grammar learning needs will easily be met by our website.
A. Essential English Grammar by Raymond Murphy
Link for readers from USA, UK, Canada, and other countries: Essential Grammar in Use - with Answers
Link for Indian readers: Essential English Grammar
B. Intermediate English Grammar by Raymond Murphy
Link for readers from USA, UK, Canada, and other countries: English Grammar in Use - with Answers
Link for Indian readers: Intermediate English Grammar
C. Advanced English Grammar by Martin Hewings
Link for readers from USA, UK, Canada, and other countries: Advanced Grammar in Use - with Answers
Link for Indian readers: Advanced English Grammar
So much so for Englsh Grammar. But what about Comprehension skills and Vocabulary?
We strongly believe that Comprehension skills and Vocabulary are more a matter of practice. The more you read, the better you will become in them. In fact, this will help you in Grammar too. Afterall Grammar rules are just in the nature of temporary scaffholding - the goal is to read, write and speak a language without consciously remembering even a single Grammar rule.
So, we suggest you to read vividly. Ideally, carry some tool with you that you may refer so as to learn the meaning of any word that is new to you. There are many ways you may go about it.
* The old method: Carry a good dictionary with you. But who does?
* Download a Thesauraus app on your mobile or just google it. Better, but we still need to stop reading, open the app, type and then search. Boring!
The methods mentioned above kill the joy of reading. Who wants to stop reading in the midst of an interesting plot and look for the meaning of a word? And if you are a lazy soul like me, Oh man! No chance!
That's why I prefer to read on gadgets like Kindle. We may just tap on any word and see its meaning there and then. It's also not taxing on the eyes.
Link for readers from USA, UK, Canada, and other countries:
Link for Indian readers:
There are a multitude of Kindle models and versions available. So, you may have to do some research on your own regarding which model serves your need the best. Though, any model will meet our basic reading needs.
If you guys know about any more such books, gadgets and technologies that are awesome and may help English learners, do share 😇