Why do some people use a singular noun when they start a phrase with "one of you

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  1. Aficionada profile image78
    Aficionadaposted 11 years ago

    Why do some people use a singular noun when they start a phrase with "one of your . . . "?

    They might continue by saying "[one of your] best/worst/favorite/least-favorite/best-loved/most-hated" or something similar. Do you have a grammar theory?

    1. MrMaranatha profile image72
      MrMaranathaposted 11 years ago

      I am not sure I am following you, but let me play with  this a moment.

      Sentence 1)   In one of your best selling articles you said; "Now....".

      In sentence 1)  the singular noun is not singular but a plural.. Not Article singular but Articles Plural. 

      You would not say "in one of" (singular) followed by a singular noun... it does not fit.
      When speaking or writing you do not call attention to "one of one" and then call that one Plural.

      To be one of something implies that there are more than one to be considered.
      Likewise Lets look at the reverse
      2)   In some of your best selling article you said; "Now...."

      This also does not fit as having first mentioned some (meaning more than one) the grammar mandates the noun also be plural.

      Was I on the right sheet of music???

      Here is another example and a good example of  why it is important to use the right grammar, and what happens if you do not.
      "My wife and I are usually discussing issues like this.  She is better at formulating actual Rules that make common sense for these common mistakes people make."
      -- She should write a book on it (or them).

      If "it" is the subject that is the intention of the book then the Singular is OK.
      But if the Mistakes themselves are the subject of the book then the Plural "them"  should be used.

      Just a little thing like tense could change the meaning of the whole sentence.

      1. Aficionada profile image78
        Aficionadaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Yes, MrMaranatha, you have described well the reason why a singular noun is incorrect in that situation. Yet I do hear people use one incorrectly, and I even see it in writing, as I did here on HP just before posting the Q. I'm curious to know why?

      2. MrMaranatha profile image72
        MrMaranathaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        My guess would be that It's just poor grammar.

      3. Aficionada profile image78
        Aficionadaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Definitely poor grammar!  I wonder how such a thing comes about.  What is it people hear - or don't hear - that makes it sound even remotely reasonable to their ear?  As you noted, "one of" indicates that there have to be more.  Thanks for answering.

      4. MrMaranatha profile image72
        MrMaranathaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        In the case of Foreign Language students this problem could stem from the difference in how the native language handles its own Grammar. Sometimes we see these issues with students, but after they have seen a few good examples it is usually solved.

    2. SidKemp profile image85
      SidKempposted 11 years ago

      I believe the singular to be correct in the simplest case. If a mother has a boy and two girls, it is correct to say, "One of your children is a boy." The subject of the sentence is "One" and it is singular, in both grammar and meaning. In the same situation, one would say, "Two of your children are girls."

      For another example, I have published nine books, one of them an Amazon best seller. It is correct to say to me "One of your books is an Amazon best seller," and "Eight of your books are not Amazon best sellers."

      Can you give an example of a full sentence beginnign "One of your . . ." where the plural is correct?

      1. Aficionada profile image78
        Aficionadaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        This may take too much space (sorry). I do not mean the verb is singular. I mean that some people now incorrectly say (to play off your example), "I bought one of your Amazon book," rather than "books" Why?  I admit this is not a great example.

      2. SidKemp profile image85
        SidKempposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        People learn grammar unconsciously by vague imitation. If not trained in discipline of standard grammar, we guess at what to do. People hear "one" and guess "singular."Poor education, bad habit, non-standard dialect. Read Twice As Less, Eleanor Orr.

      3. MrMaranatha profile image72
        MrMaranathaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        In original learning, Another element in this is that Missing Content must be supplied by the human brain.  If a person hears or understands only half the sentence then the brain will supply the missing pieces thus rendering the sentence wrong.

      4. alancaster149 profile image75
        alancaster149posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        The key is in 'books'. Amazon sells not one but many books, so the phrase has to be therefore: 'One of Amazon's books' (uno de los libros de Amazon)

    3. alancaster149 profile image75
      alancaster149posted 11 years ago

      The fact that I have more than one book/record on sale, or that I have more than one offspring dictates the use of the multiple, -s, even though only one of them has been pointed out (for scrutiny): 'One of your sons is a graduate'/ 'One of your records has become a hit'/'One of your children has fallen into the pond'.
      As opposed to: 'A son of yours is a graduate'/'A record of yours is a hit'/'A child of yours has fallen into the pond', in which case the multiple reference has shifted to 'you'. .

    4. dianetrotter profile image60
      dianetrotterposted 11 years ago

      Perhaps you mean as opposed to "our?"  One of our most famous presidents is FDR?

    5. WordCrafter09 profile image66
      WordCrafter09posted 11 years ago

      I'm not entirely sure I understand exactly what you're asking; but based on the examples you've given, I'd think it may be a case of the person's leaving room for the possibility that the other person may not have narrowed down "whatever" to one, particular, favorite and therefore has a number of "favorites" (or "worst" or "best" etc.)  Technically, if someone wants to "get all into it", it's not grammatically correct.  Sometimes, though, people who are perfectly skilled with grammar and speech will take some liberties in favor of being more casual and friendly in their writing or speech.  People who are very secure in their knowledge of grammar often feel very comfortable occasionally temporarily dispensing with what's technically grammatically correct in favor of just being more casual and assuming other people basically know what the writer/speaker means.   smile       Anyway...   That's my theory.

        As someone who is most often incapable of settling on any one "favorite anything" but who most often has a number of things I'd list among my favorites", I don't even really think of "favorite" as a singular thing.  Personally, I may have several "favorites", "worsts", "bests", etc.  I suppose, as a person, I choose to exercise some "right" to define words like "favorite" on my own terms, rather than just accept, at all times, how a dictionary defines them.  Another part of the theory may be that people (especially those who truly "have a relationship with" and love words) sometimes choose to truly take command of words and use them in their own, personalized, way - and not always be "ruled by" dictionaries and grammar text books.

    6. profile image0
      calculus-geometryposted 11 years ago

      I think it just stems from not being a native English speaker, of which Hubpages attracts a lot, God bless 'em.  Saying "one of your foot is blah blah blah" is grammatically incorrect, but non-native speakers may think that a singular noun is required to match the word "one." It's a logical construction from their point of view.  It takes more refined English skills to understand the correct phrase is "one of your feet is blah blah blah."


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