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I'm not sure but I think "one" refers to the people in general or anyone. I've found the following sentences where One has been used :

  1. One must treat other as one expect to be treated.

  2. One should take care of one's health.

  3. One should do one's best at all times.

  1. What one actually refers to in above sentences?

  2. Can I use- one's own health and his own health in the second sentence?

  3. Can I say "One should take care of oneself or himself" ? Both correct?

  • These days, English speakers generally use "you" and "your" instead of "one" and "one's", and although the latter usage is understood, some people might consider it to be "posh". – Mick Nov 18 '16 at 11:01
  • "One" is third-person singular, like he or she, so any time you use a verb with it, it should be the appropriate third-person singular form: "...as one expects to be treated", just like it would be for "he expects". – stangdon Nov 18 '16 at 14:53
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  1. "one" refers to a general person.
  2. Yes, generally you can use "one's own" instead of "one's". Note, that "his own" excludes "her own" which is also covered by "one's own" so in general you cannot just use "his own" in place of "one's own".
  3. "Oneself or himself" make no sense, because "himself" is already covered by "oneself". "Herself or himself" instead could be an option.
  • Are the following sentences correct grammatically ? 1. One should take care of oneself. 2. One should take care of himself. 3. One should take care of themselves. 4. One should take care oneself. 5. One should take care of himself. – yubraj Nov 18 '16 at 14:15
  • 1. Yes. 2. Yes, but excludes women. 3. No. 4. Yes, but the meaning is not what you think. 5. Is the same as 2. – Drossel Nov 18 '16 at 14:18
  • 6. One should take care of one's own health. – yubraj Nov 18 '16 at 14:19
  • You have already asked about that. It's 2 in your original question. – Drossel Nov 18 '16 at 14:21
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'One' is used as a gender-neutral third person singular to refer to an unknown person(as opposed to eg animals). It is not specified whether the person referred to is male or female. It is considered quite formal these days, and tends to be replaced by either 'you' or 'they'.

He/him/himself could replace one/one's/oneself grammatically, but from a usage point of view you might have changed a gender neutral sentence into a sentence about a man. Using both 'one' and 'him' to refer to the same person is incorrect: use of 'him' implies you know its a man, whereas use of 'one' implies it could be a woman.

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"One" is used as a pronoun, in place of "a person". While it's true (as Mick says) that it's not as commonly used these days I think your English is advanced enough you should become familiar with it. It can be a useful genderless pronoun if you don't want to pick between male or female.

"One" can be used in place of "you", for example:

One should take care not to use "one" too frequently, lest one sound pompous.

It can be a little tricky to use "one" in a sentence. It can seem overly formal to use "one" too many times in a sentence, but at the same time it can be awkward to switch between pronouns, especially if you're trying to avoid gender. Example:

"One needs to provide food for oneself and one's family". (formal)

"One needs to provide food for himself and his family." (less formal, but requires you to pick between the male and female pronouns)

"One" is a third-person pronoun, so it can be useful if you want to avoid saying something that could be interpreted as directed at the listener.

"You need to provide food for yourself and your family" (fine, but the listener might think you're talking specifically about them)

"One" also doesn't work well as the object of a sentence:

"I give one an apple" (formal, but sounds very awkward)

As you noticed, you can use the possessive "one's" and the reflexive "oneself". As before, these are formal and should be used carefully, once you understand the nuance.

Lastly, "one" is much more common in writing than when speaking, and you should probably avoid it in conversation as it can sound awkwardly formal.

More information on using "one"

  • Are the following sentences correct grammatically ? 1. One should take care of oneself. 2. One should take care of himself. 3. One should take care of themselves. 4. One should take care oneself. 5. One should take care of himself. – yubraj Nov 18 '16 at 14:15
  • 6. One should take care of one's own healt. – yubraj Nov 18 '16 at 14:21
  • "One" is singular third person, so "one should take care of themselves" is not strictly speaking grammatically correct. However it has become acceptable to use "they/them/their/themselves" as a third-person gender-neutral singular, so it's actually ok in most contexts. The rest of your sentences are correct. – Andrew Nov 18 '16 at 14:58
  • what do you think about my 1 and 2 sentence, oneself and himself ? Does "Himself" excludes women if we use it like in that sentence? – yubraj Nov 18 '16 at 15:09
  • I'm really confused weather to use oneself or himself – yubraj Nov 18 '16 at 15:13

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