What does the word "one" refer to in this sentence? Who/what is “the only smart one” in this sentence? Is it talking about Linda who is the only smart person in America's favorite cartoon family or is talking about the only smart cartoon among other cartoons?

The only smart one in America's favorite cartoon family, Linda believes that her real family must live somewhere in Centerville, and she has got to find them.

1 Answer 1


One refers to a person. Out of all the people, she is the only smart one.

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    “One refers to a person” as a general statement is blatantly not true. It can refer to pretty much any noun phrase. In this sentence it refers to the only person mentioned by name, Linda, but that's specific to this sentence, not a general thing. Nov 12, 2016 at 12:00
  • Uh… “One refers to a person” as a general statement in any way similar to Little Girl’s example is clearly correct. In very different contexts it might refer to other noun phrases and they would be so different as to be wholly irrelevant here. If you seriously suggest we might speak of “The only flat one in this collection of tables”, which of course grammatically, we might then please; how likely is that? “The only fertile one in this herd of cattle”? Nov 26, 2016 at 21:49

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