Is it possible to use one when we mean to say there's the general possibility of something happening in a conditional like this?

When people say if one had enough monkeys, one could write the entirety of Shakespeare’s works, Shakespeare WAS that monkey, and it only took about ~55 million years for it to happen.

Or is there a more elegant way of expressing this thought?


Using the word one to indicate a undefined person is a legitimate way of expressing that thought. In this case you have later defined "one" as Shakespeare in a witty way. It works.

  • Thanks, however "one" actually refers to anyone who'd want to run human evolution as an experiment, Shakespeare is the goal of the experiment.
    – Probably
    Jul 28 '19 at 9:36
  • 1
    One can be used to define any undefined person (i.e. "one would think" means a person in this situation could possibly come to this conclusion). In your statement you leave it undefined at the beginning, making "one" accurate. Once you define one as Shakespeare, in this context, it would no longer be accurate since you have replaced a variable with a value. Jul 28 '19 at 17:38

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