From some source I have heard that the other one is informal.
I am considering using this word in the IELTS Academic writing, particularly in the following sentence.

Overall, both sites offer almost equal extent of accessibility from a city centre, although each of them has its own advantages over the other one.

Is this appropriate to use these structures in this type of an essay?

Research conducted before asking:
1. A Google search ("the other one" formal, "the other one" informal, what is informal in ielts essay) gave no relevant answers.
2. SkELL's British corpus has entries of structures "the %word% one".

  • 1
    Could you say more about it? I'm not following. In what contexts is it said to be informal, and who's doing the saying?
    – MMacD
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 20:47
  • 1
    Perhaps you could give an example? I feel it may be a case where it would be rare to need this construction in academic writing, usually you would instead refer to the thing directly, or when contrasting things it will not be necessary to specify "one".
    – Nat
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 21:20
  • 1
    I agree with what the others have said here: (a) I think "the other one" is too short a term to decide if it's appropriate for academic writing by itself and without any other context; (b) I wonder what source said it was informal, and what reason was given; (c) What did you search for in Google? If you don't tell us what you searched for, then "A search in Google gave nothing" means nothing.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 22:29
  • @J.R., I've added the information that you asked. Unfortunately, I don't remember from which source I've got the information about "the other one" being informal, but I remember that it was some site.
    – Ramid
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 9:55
  • Ramid, that's helpful information. Thanks for making the update.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


When making a choice or distinction between two items, we can use the other one to refer to the item that is not being presented to us at the moment or that is not under consideration at the moment.

Would you like to hear that song?
--No, I want to hear the other one.
What other one?
--The one you mentioned a minute ago, about the walrus.

Do you like this car?
-- No, I like the other one better.

As the examples show, the phrase relies upon speaker and listener being in sync with one another; "the other one" means "not this one but another which we were speaking about a moment ago. or another that I am looking at and nodding towards right this moment".

Insofar as it relies upon a conversational context, and possibly upon body language, the construction is ill-suited to writing that is not conversational in nature. .

  • Does your answer stay the same after I have added information about my example of using this structure?
    – Ramid
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 5:46
  • 1
    "...each has its advantages over the other" is how you'd typically find it written.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 10:33
  • Thank you. With your answer and comment I have understood that: 1. the other one is not appropriate in formal writing. 2. I have used unsuitable construction in my example.
    – Ramid
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 13:31

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