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In the sentence below, what does "one" refer to in "one pushing the other"? Does it refer to the girls or to the cars?

On the way into town one day I noticed a couple of young girls working their way along the lines of cars waiting at a busy junction, one pushing the other.

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In English, the phrase "one pushing the other" can only refer to two things, the "one" and "the other". If there were more than two things, the phrasing should have been "the others" or "pushing one another". Thus, it cannot refer to the lines of cars, which clearly contain a lot more than two cars.

It must be that one of the girls was pushing the other, although it's not entirely clear how (maybe in a wheelchair; maybe not).

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On the way into town one day, I noticed a couple of young girls working their way along the lines of cars [which were] waiting at a busy junction, one pushing the other.

This is perhaps a little ambiguous. In general, I would assume that the clause relates to the most recent subject in the sentence, unless there is a reason to think otherwise. Therefore I would assume that the cars were pushing one-another.

A reason you may read it the other way, is if there was some punctuation as follows:

I noticed a couple of young girls , who were working their way along the lines of cars waiting at a busy junction, one pushing the other.

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on the way into town one day I noticed a couple of young girls working their way along the lines of cars waiting at a busy junction, one pushing the other.

One girl is pushing the other girl. As we know nothing else about the girls, "one" just means one of the girls -- the one pushing.

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