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The translations of the nominative pronoun might need usage notes in some langauges, as I have already done for French and Italian. -- Paul G 10:51, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)

a) "The big one looks good." & "I want the green one."
That should be like this in German:

  • "Der/Die/Das Große sieht schön aus." & "Ich möchte den Grünen." or "Ich möchte das/die Grüne." (big = groß, big one = der/die/das Große (nominative case); green = grün, green one = den Grünen or das/die Grüne (accusative case).)

But maybe it is or was also spelled like this, depending on the context?:

  • "Which car do you want? I want the green one." = "Welches Auto möchtest Du? Ich möchte das grüne.", where "das grüne" stands for "das grüne Auto".

b) "A good driver is one who drives carefully."
Couldn't that also be translated like this into German?:

  • "Ein guter Fahrer ist jemand, der vorsichtig (or: sorgfältig, gewissenhaft) fährt."
  • "Ein guter Fahrer ist derjenige, der vorsichtig fährt"
  • "Ein guter Fahrer ist, wer vorsichtig fährt."

-16:15, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

cardinal numbers and articles[edit]

I noted that e.g. for German and Italian under the intederminate articles as well - I don't know if you had a reason for inserting this here as they would be the translation of "a/an" - that's why I am not modifying it right now, but would first of all like to understand the reason for inserting them here. The same seems to be valid for other languages as well, but I don't speak them so I cannot verify. -- SabineCretella 06:48, 1 Jan 2005 (UTC)

There is (now) an example sentence ("There is only one Earth.") which would need - at least in Swedish, and also in German if my recollection is correct - words identical to the indefinite articles as translations of one. So yes, either these words (as I guess you're talking about words like ein/eine?) should be included in the list, or the English would need a new definition to which this particular example should be moved, and which would have e.g. ein, eine (possibly even the non-nominatives?) as the German translations, and en, ett as the Swedish. \Mike 18:40, 12 September 2007 (UTC)


It was noted to editors, in the etymological dictionary that has been excised from Wikipedia, that this word is not of Tamil origin. Uncle G 11:27, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It should also be borne in mind that although it might appear that French ON (as indefinite personal pronoun, one) influenced the spelling of ONE[2], that is not true. Please read message below! Andrew H. Gray 12:29, 14 September 2015 (UTC) Andrew (talk)

[0] means 'Absolutely not; [1] means 'Exceedingly unlikely'; [2] means 'Very dubious'; [3] means 'Questionable'; [4] means 'Possible'; [5] means 'Probable'; [6] means 'Likely'; [7] means 'Most Likely' or *Unattested; [8] means 'Attested'; [9] means 'Obvious' - only used for close matches within the same language or dialect, at linkable periods.

Werdna Yrneh Yarg (talk)

I doubt it. Middle English apparently didn't have the indefinite personal pronoun, but it did have a variety of forms starting with "on" (see the Middle English Dictionary entry). Also, this was during the time of Old French, and the spelling of the word that would later be French on was all over the map: hom, um, em, etc. (see the TLFI entry for French "on"). The existence of the indefinite personal pronoun one in modern English may be due to the influence of modern French on, but the spelling of the word in all its other senses seems to have been already pretty much as it is now, and that new indefinite personal pronoun probably owes its spelling to the spelling of the existing word. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:05, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

un-redirect 1[edit]

See Talk:1 for proposed definition. 1 and 0 have specific meanings (on/off;true/false) in computer science and (Boolean) logic. 0 and 1 are used repeatedly in definitions of logical functions which require these meanings. See w:Boolean logic. Rmo13 03:30, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Rewrite cardinal number definition[edit]

The English needs to be brought up to a better standard such as zero. See 1 for some ideas. A charming definition, but a bit chatty. Definition using first seems confusing to me. I would propose moving the noun definition directly after the cardinal number.Rmo13 18:18, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

The first number in the set of natural numbers (especially in number theory).

  • The cardinality of the smallest nonempty set.


one (plural: ones)

  1. The cardinal number one, a single thing or unit.
    There was only one on the shelf.
  2. numeral corresponding to the number one.
    Put on the shirt with the one on the front.
  3. A digit in decimal and every other base numbering system, including binary, octal, and hexadecimal.
    The number 916 has a one in the tens place.
  4. (US) A one-dollar bill.
    The machine takes ones.
  5. (mathematics) The identity element with respect to multiplication in a ring.
  6. (cricket) One run scored by hitting the ball and running between the wickets; a single.



  1. Of a single thing or unit; of cardinality one.
    The baby is one year old.
  2. Of a period of time, being particular; as, one morning, one year.
    One day the prince killed the dragon that had terrorized to the kingdom for centuries.
  3. A single, unspecified thing; a; any.
    My aunt used to say, "One day is just like the other."
  4. Sole, only.
    He is the one man who can help you.
  5. Whole, entire.
    The law requires one year residency.

Defining that it's the first natural number doesn't seem sensible, as that's often taken to be 0 instead. 13:47, 17 October 2016 (UTC)


I don't know whether it's just an english regional pronunciation, but I've always pronounced this word /wɒn/ and I could swear I've never heard it said /wʌn/. Maybe I'm just going insane, but I would like to know.

Yes, I'm sure it's usually pronounced /wɒn/ in England. 21:23, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm in England and my dictionary gives /wʌn/. Another dictionary (the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary) says /wɒn/ is "widespread in England among educated speakers among educated speakers, but ... nevertheless judged to fall outside RP". 16:11, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

northerners can't tell that 'one' rhymes with 'fun';southerners can't tell that northerners rhyme it with 'gone'.

Here in the U.S., most of us say /wʌn/. I don’t think I’ve even heard a different pronunciation in the U.S>, but I don’t have much experience with the New England dialects or any of the dialects along the Canadian border. —Stephen 22:06, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that I and other Midwesterners pronounce it /wʊn/, though I can't find much in the way of citations... — ˈzɪzɨvə 01:12, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I was surprised to see the usual northern English pronunciation /wɒn/ (to rhyme with yon and tron) marked as non-standard, though I accept that is is non-RP. When I hear it pronounced /wʌn/ I immediately think "southerner"! I'll have to listen carefully to the BBC, because most announcers no longer use RP. Dbfirs 12:08, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Train operating company[edit]

Is is apropriate to add to the list of nouns that one is the name of a train operating company in the UK? See w:One (train operating company). Thryduulf 10:41, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I believe it is appropriate. I have added it in. —Stephen 10:48, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Etymology of the pronoun[edit]

Is the etymology of the pronoun one from French on (<Latin homo)? Or does it share the same etymology as the numeral? Or maybe something in between, like an extension of the numeral word's meaning influenced by the French pronoun? 01:22, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

a one[edit]

We don't have a definition for the sense used in the following citation, but I'm not sure how (or even under what part-of-speech header) to add it:

msh210 19:48, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

That's a substantive use of a Numeral. All numerals in English can be used as substantives this way, especially fractional numerals. This is why modern grammarians are recognizing Numeral as a part of speech. --EncycloPetey 19:52, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
(I don't know what substantive means here; I've added {{rfdef}} there. But anyway:) You mean like "a half", "a quarter"? Those are just nouns, no? (That's how we list "half", anyway; q.v.) In any event, even if you say it's a numeral and not a noun, we should include a usage note about "a one", since this construction does not exist for most numerals (*"ate a three-quarters of the pie", *"had a two books in his hand").—msh210 20:05, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
No, they're not nouns, but they are functioning like nouns (i.e. "substantive", identifying an object). There are a number of words that can function as substantives besides nouns:
  • Pronoun - He has a hat.
  • Determiner - Please hand me that. (this is traditionally called a "demonstrative pronoun")
  • Adjective - I want one in red.
  • Numeral - She wants five of them.
  • Verb (Participle) - Walking is good exercise.
In a relatively non-inflected language like English, we tend to classify words into parts of speech purely by function. However, in inflected languages, the pattern of inflection is usually specific to a particular part of speech and makes the part of speech clear. The problem with this is that we end up with two different ways of describing parts of speech, and they become language specific and language dependent. For numerals, it's a better policy to list them as "Numeral" and explain in an Appendix:English numerals how they function in English grammar, rather than forcing every single numerals into several articificial alternative POS categories.
Part of the reason this this distinction is so important is that, although numerals can function like nouns, they do not have all the grammatical characteristics associated with nouns. Consider:
  • Noun - They have those three, long, orange trucks.
  • Numeral - They have three.
Both sentences can mean exactly the same thing and apply in exactly the same situation, but the words truck and three have different grammatical rules that apply to them. In the first sentence, the word truck is a noun, so it may be preceded by articles, adjectives, numerals, or determiners in combination. In the second sentence, the word three is a numeral in its substantive function. It may be preceded by an article (the three) or a determiner (those three), but not by an adjective (They have orange three.) nor by a combination of article/determiner and adjective as in the first sentence.
It is thus important to distinguish a noun from a numeral because, although the core function of the word itself can be a substantive in both cases, there is still a difference in the grammar of additional words combined to create a phrase from the word.
As for the specific sample sentences above, the reason they don't work is because they aren't grammatically singular like one. You wouldn't say "He had a three-quarters of the pie.", but you wouldn't say "He had a books." either. You could say "He ate a quarter of the pie," but not three-quarters. It's a prepended counter there that makes it effectively plural. The second example you protest about: "He had a two books in his hand." Is not using two as a substantive, so it's not relevant to the discussion. The noun in that phrase is book, and two is being used as a determiner (incorrectly, since "a" is exclusively for singular situations and so can't precede books). --EncycloPetey 20:47, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Okay, thanks for the clarification. If the community agrees with you, we need to tidy up quite a few entries, I suspect, changing part-of-speech headers and possible definitions. In any event, we should include a usage note (s.v. one or in the (nonexistent) appendix on numerals in English, or both) about "a one", because a is optional in it (contrast *"ate third of the pie", *"had million dollars"; but cf. "ate half of the pie", so that half is like one). No?—msh210 21:00, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes. Personally, I think we need the Appendix first, so that we have a fully worked-out explanation and justification with examples before we try to overhaul what we have. And, yes, the entries for numerals need a lot of cleanup, but so do the prepositions and adverbs. These three parts of speech seem to get less careful attention compared to the others. --EncycloPetey 21:03, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

'one' meaning the speaker (i.e. the 'Royal one')?[edit]

People occasionally still use it (often humorously). Could a note about this maybe come under synonyms?
e.g. One doesn't wish to be too quick to judge.
Meaning something like "I, and, I think/hope, others".
(Similar to the psychological-projection-usage of 'you', which, in that usage, seems to some extent to have replaced 'one', which may have been almost completely abandoned due to it sounding so formal/pompous & Queen-Elizabeth-like.) --Tyranny Sue 01:41, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

It's not a synonym for I or you. It's what is sometimes referred to as "fourth person", and is roughly equivalent to the impersonal se in Spanish. --EncycloPetey 01:51, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Right, but in practice it often, in effect, means 'I' or 'me'. Perhaps a usage note. (I think we need to cover this editorial/Royal one usage, which is much like the editorial or Royal 'we'. I'll look for some good examples.)--Tyranny Sue 02:21, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Could you provide an example where it means "me"? I can't think of a single case where the two would be equivalent. I've never heard of the "Royal one", only the "Royal we". --EncycloPetey 02:25, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Google books can provide a list of candidates. In many of them it is clear that one is speaking/thinking about oneself. DCDuring TALK 10:46, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
David Crystal mentioned it in Who cares about English usage?: "One fell off one's horse." Equinox 16:46, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Tea room discussion[edit]

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Specifically the pronominal senses. Hamaryns rfc'd this awhile back (rightly so, in my opinion), but it's a bit tricky. My first instinct was to simply merge the senses and translations and be done with it, as English does not distinguish between the nominative and accusative case, and the distinction seems purely morphological for other languages, not worth splitting up translation sections. However, I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps there are two meaningful senses (which, btw, are not correctly distinguished by the defs nor by the example sentences). The first sense is simply an indefinite referential pronoun: "I want the green one". It can (but doesn't have to) take determiners. The other is.....a little trickier: "One should always remember to bring an umbrella when rain is possible". It can't take determiners, and is far more prevalent as the subject, but it can be the object (especially if the subject is also "one"). It's often used in moral platitudes. Additionally, there are other problems with the entry (e.g. I'm troubled by the fourth adjectival sense and its example sentence). Can someone with more sophisticated grammar skills look at this please? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 07:46, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

The second sense you describe "One should always remember..." is sometimes called the impersonal pronoun, and sometimes called "fourth person". Something like it exists in Spanish as well. Yes, there are many, many problems with the entry for one, in part because it's an extremely complicated little word. I'll take a look, but I expect it will take the efforts of half a dozen of our best contributors here, and even then it may fall short. --EncycloPetey 07:55, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Annoyingly, the term impersonal pronoun is used both in reference to this sense of one/you (and FL counterparts), and in reference to expletive uses of it (ditto). The term indefinite personal pronoun, which seems to be used only in reference to this sense of one/you (and FL counterparts), might be better. —RuakhTALK 17:58, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I've made an attempt at this, but I lack confidence in my skills in this matter. I would greatly appreciate a review by someone more skilled than I. In any case, I feel that the example sentences are properly sorted, even if the definitions are.....wanting. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 07:30, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I wonder if maybe it should be split into two POS sections? Only sense #1 has a plural ("The big ones look good", "I want the green ones"), and only sense #2 has a reflexive (oneself). Also, while one's can have either sense, only for sense #2 does it seem to be a possessive pronoun like my etc.; for sense #1 it looks like normal one + 's. —RuakhTALK 14:44, 14 January 2009 (UTC)


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Rfv-sense: "Describing a set or group with one component". How is this distinct from the sense as a cardinal number? All English words for cardinal numbers can function this way. --EncycloPetey 23:51, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Delete. Sometimes I say all number pages may as well be locked. DAVilla 06:43, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Deleted. Equinox 00:45, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

RFV 2[edit]

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Rfv-sense: (Internet, slang, sarcastic) Used instead of ! to amplify an exclamation, imitating n00bs who forget to press the shift key while typing exclamation points. I have seen this before, but is it in durably archived media? -- Prince Kassad 08:46, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

It's in Usenet.RuakhTALK 13:37, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Passed as cited. (I added Ruakh's citations to the entry.) - -sche (discuss) 03:14, 19 August 2011 (UTC)


Currently we have three definitions of the pronoun one. Don’t we need to separate them, considering the plural forms are all different?

  1. With an article or an adjective. (French: celui)
    • I want the green one.I want the green ones.
  2. As opposed to the other. (French: l'un)
    • He took one and left the other.He took some and left the others.
  3. Generic you. (French: on)
    • One shouldn’t be too quick to judge. → no plural.

TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 06:13, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

RFC discussion: November–December 2010[edit]

See Talk:0#RFC discussion: November–December 2010.

usage notes[edit]

The interesting information on the historical development of the pronunciation needs to be corrected a little according to and it should be put in the etymology section. This information is interesting but very confusing and irrelevant for most users in the usage section. In addition, this doesn't even explain to normal users why the pronunciation is not like in "only, alone etc.", which *would* interest many users. --Espoo (talk) 17:23, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

Moved from the entry: -->