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quick question... Instead of using one as a plural (ones), why don't we use the acutal noun we are describing.. like

"bring me the four potatoes"

"which potatoes?"

"those four in the bowl" so on and so forth?



Like these is sufficient with a point to the subject matter. Or, as stated above, "Like these four or five"
"Like these ones" is definitely wrong.


We love 'em for being so lovin ("like these ... ones") grrrrrrrrr excuse me, I cringe at "ones"

A colloquialism is an expression not used in formal speech, writing or paralinguism. Colloquialisms can include words (such as "y'all", "gonna", "deadly" or "grouty"), phrases (such as "ain't nothin'" and "dead as a doornail"), or sometimes even an entire aphorism ("There's more than one way to skin a cat"). Dictionaries often display colloquial words and phrases with the abbreviation colloq.

I don't see "ones" as a colloquialism. Ones is not in the dictionary. I see "ones" as 'murdering the English language'. HERE'S where we're going with that one........

"Words that have a formal meaning may also have a colloquial meaning that, while technically incorrect, is recognizable due to common usage."

People just don't see the beauty of the English language...when used properly. eg. "My Fair Lady"


You don't pluralize "one" and you don't pluralize "two" or "three". These over here or those over there, but not "these ones" or "those ones". Or these three or those four. Please respond if you understand...or not.


Paula, you're generally right, but words like "one" and "two" can (rarely) be pluralized: The guests arrived in twos and threes. (I'd prefer "couples and threesomes," but that would imply relationships rather than random arrivals.)

And a prosecutor can safely say: "These three miscreants deliberately planned the robbery. Those two wretches beside them were to carry it out."

And of course when we're completely disorganized, we're at sixes and sevens!


Please, please. "One" can be pluralized along with most all the nouns in modern English, and it has been for hundreds of years.

Look no further than the King James Version of the Bible:

Matthew 10:42 "and whoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup . . ."

Mark 9:42 "and whosoever shall offend one of these little ones . . ."

This contrived controversy about "ones" is the kind of game played by those [ones] who want to act like [that is, as if] they are very educated devotees of English. But in reality, haven't read very much at all.

They just know what the word games are. (Example: "For whom it is" rather than "who it is for".) They parrot so-called grammar rules, 80% of them made up in the last 150 years, that they memorize like the sales pitch of a snake-oil salesmen.

We have these types running all over Japan, "teaching" English. One [!} wonders how much reading they've ever done along a way, whether it be novels, anthologies, legal opinions or what have you.

Paradise Place

These ones and those ones. I actually cringe when I hear someone use them together. To me it's redundant. You can say these peaches or those peaches or I choose this one or that one...

Ben Gramkowski

This is just a possibility; but might it not have anything to do with the much-hated "ones" and rather with the the fact that the "these" or "those" in the sentence is a plural pronoun? When we say "That one," "that" is an adjective, indicating which one, but there are no plural adjectives (to my knowledge, limited as it is), so we cannot use "those" in the same manner, thus making it grammatically incorrect. You would be, in saying "those ones," using two pronouns both referring to the same things, so the phrase is redundant.


I agree with Ben on 11/15/11. It's that simple. As for Hoofin's example from King James, it is antiquated; but the phrase "little ones" is one we still use to refer to young children. The operative difference from the germaine discussion is the word "little" between "these" and "ones". Calling people knowledgeable of the "rules" or, more accurately, practices of English "snake-oil salesmen" is arrogant, to say the least. One cannot teach any subject if one doesn't comply with established rules or acceptable practices, especially to speakers of other languages. Usage (practice) varies from field to field: religion, law, medicine, business, etc. Hoofin obviously understands this and enjoys flaunting his/her education just like the rest of us (smile).

A Facebook User

Now, I've got a problem with this. In my line of work we handle innumerable doors, drawers and drawer faces. So when a fellow employee asks me, "Which ones should I bring over?" I don't want to tell him, "those forty" or "those fifty" because that's just plain silly. I'm going to reply to his pronoun 'ones' with my own pronoun in the sentence, "Those ones."

Joe Shmoe

Im here to prove you all wrong. If you were to refer to a group of "ones" it is correct. If you were playing cards and the deck had a card with the value of one, and winning the game will get you three dollar bills. And your hand was all ones. You could say "I'm definitely gonna lose I have all these ones." Then your friend could reply "Those ones are gonna cost you these ones" Those would be in reference to the cards with a value of one. These would be in reference to the the dollar bills. I know you could say it better many different ways. Such as leaving out these and those but it proves it can work when a group of ones are the subject. You could even say "Your ones" tell me I'm wrong.

Andrew Bayles

Professional linguist here.

To say that we can't pluralize "one" is ridiculous. If I show you two pairs of shoes, one of which is red and the other blue, and then I ask, "Which do you like better?" there's no way around saying "the blue ones" or "the red ones." The idea that "these ones" and "those ones" is any different doesn't make any sense logically.

It's just like saying that you can NEVER end a sentence with a preposition, which, as Winston Churchill has made clear, is something "up with which [we] shall not put." Artificial rules imposed upon the English language don't make it more beautiful; they make it more restricted, less expressive, and ultimately more ridiculous.

Rob Henson

I know this is an old thread but just been asked the same question.

How can a single entity be pluralised? You can have a group of ones as mentioned earlier, the shelf in the hardware store for house numbers contain a batch of ones, the deck of cards has four ones (or aces).

The exception I do see however is when referring to people, loved ones, little ones.


I find it hilarious that so many of you are proclaiming those who use 'these ones' or 'those ones' are ignorant of the English language yet you fail to demonstrate it substantively. There's a reason for that. The reason is because it does not break any rules. Just because you all find it unpleasant does not make it incorrect. You've shown your ignorance on the matter by coming up with propositions as to why it's incorrect off the top of your head only to have your objections rightfully dismissed on an individual basis. Say you find it distasteful, you're entitled to that. If you say it's incorrect, prove it, otherwise, it is you that is incorrect. It has been in common usage and its meaning has been explored by linguists hundreds of years ago. Read up before you claim authority on the matter.

Rol Edquist

the word Melissa wanted was actual

Sheila Roberts Stirling

I came here to get a final answer...It is like nails on a chalkboard when I hear someone say "these ones" or "those ones". You hit the nail on the head with the plural. There is no such thing as a plural "one". Thank you for posting this and please, English speaking world, stop it, as it drives me insane. Thanks for listening. Oh, wait...the other one is saying "on yesterday" or "on last week". The only time you can say "on", meaning at that time, is when it is in front of a capitalized time(proper noun)such as Wednesday, December 10th, etc. More nails on the chalkboard! Thanks again!

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