Posted by: Jack Henry | March 3, 2016

Editor’s Corner: These Ones

Dear Editrix,

I’d like to know about a phrase I hear used fairly often, but I wonder if it is really proper English. The phrase is these ones. For example, “I gave John a choice of socks and told him he could wear these ones or those ones his brother likes.”

Please let me know more about these phrases,

Baffled Bill

Dear Baffled,

Your ear is not fooling you: these ones is not proper, grammatical construction. I found several articles online about this topic, but I think Grammar Girl’s answer and examples were the most concise. I hope this helps!

The word "ones" can be plural, as in "I like the red ones." You could even say "I like these red ones." Imagine that "ones" is standing in for the word "roses" or “apples." But "I like these ones" is redundant and incorrect. "These" is already standing in for the noun. You should say simply "I like these" instead.

The situation is the same with "those":

§ He likes those ones. (redundant)

§ He likes those. (better)

The phrases "this one" and "that one" don’t seem to bother linguists, but it doesn’t hurt to take a second look when you use the phrases to make sure that you aren’t being unnecessarily wordy.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: