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Why is it incorrect to say,

"One of my cousin called me."

instead of

"One of my cousins called me."

  • ”One of my cousins“, I don't know why, but I have read many such kind of things. – Zhang Apr 28 '18 at 0:53
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    If something is one of ____, then it can only be one of many things. "One of one thing" doesn't make any sense. – stangdon Apr 28 '18 at 1:16
  • @stangdon You native speaker could never thought about the non-native's confusion :). If I haven't read so many, I might have the same question. When I just want to say "my cousin called me", I would find "my cousins called me" a little wierd. I know the difference, I just give an example. – Zhang Apr 28 '18 at 1:41
  • @马化腾 - I'm just curious: does your native language have plurals, and does it use them this way? I speak a little German, Spanish, and French, and all of them would use the plural here exactly the same way. – stangdon Apr 28 '18 at 16:53
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Break it down to pieces like this:

I have five cousins. One of them called me.

Hence

One of my cousins called me.

Or:

One of my cousins (I have five of them! That's a lot!) called me.

  • Yes, that makes sense, especially to a native speaker. But judging from the comments above it doesn't make sense to non-native speakers who don't have the same convention in their native languages. I'm looking for a grammatical explanation that can be used by a non-native speaker to make the correct choice. – dwilli Apr 14 at 2:57

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