English is my second language and I have been practicing translating my first language to English. There was a sentence I was not sure how to translate correctly so if you could correct this sentence if there are any grammatical error, that'll be really helpful. I'd really appreciate if you'd correct me if there were any grammatical error or something that doesn't sound natural in these paragraphs also.

A sentence that I want to translate is talking about how some organization or something took votes on which actress moms wish their sons would marry. (So that the actress who was chosen as the number one was pretty and well-mannered and many moms voted that they wish their sons would marry her).

The media described the actress chosen as something like "number one son's wife" Is this sentence understandable? I feel like there are some better ways to say. Sometimes I struggle with using the phrase "number one".

For example, how do you say she's the fastest runner using the phrase number one? She's the number one runner? She's the number one at running?

I apologize for the lengthy question. As you may all have noticed my English is very informal, childish, and there is no variety of English uses. So it'll be really helpful if you could make these sentences more formal.

  • I doubt "number one" is used in western English. What you would use depends on context. For son I would use "eldest son" if he is considered the most important son to the family. Though there are probably cultural factors to consider here. For runner, "number one" seems to describe the winner, not the fastest. So just say "fastest runner".
    – user3169
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 17:58
  • 1
    If what you want to express is "the actress chosen by most Mothers as the best-mannered bride for their sons," that is the way it would be expressed. For the fastest runner, we would similarly say that "So and so was the fastest." In other words, the appropriate superlative adjectival (fastest, prettiest, best mannered) is what you need in every case. Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 20:27
  • You tell us "A sentence that I want to translate is talking about how some organization or something took," but you don't show us your attempt at translation! Please use the edit link to make your question shorter, and include the sentence as you have translated it. Then we can do more to help you! Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 20:35
  • @P.E.Dant There's nothing wrong with the length of the question, although I agree with you that it would be nice to see the attempt to translate the sentence. I appreciate the effort that was made to explain what Maimai would like the sentence to say. The question seems to be more about the phrase "number-one something" than about the actual sentence though.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 13:40
  • @user3169 "eldest" always refers to age, not who is "considered most important to the family"
    – eques
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


To say someone is the fastest runner using "number one" you would simply use "number one" as an attributive noun phrase:

She is the number one runner in the world.

This would imply speed, since that is what running races are about, but if you absolutely had to emphasize speed you could say

She is the fastest runner in the world.

where the "number one" would be understood. It would be redundant to say "number one fastest runner" because both mean the same thing in this case. Superlatives are always "number one" and vice versa.

Maui is my number one vacation spot. [meaning favorite]

The U.S. Navy is the number one navy in the world. [meaning biggest, most powerful, etc.]

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in developing countries. [meaning leading, most fatal, etc.]

Some sticklers will insist you hyphenate the term (number-one runner, number-one navy) when using it as an attributive noun phrase, but I don't feel that is strictly necessary. There is little room for ambiguity with the term, and so a hyphen does not lend much support.

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