In one of my posts (Is it grammatical to say "I didn't ... for a long time"?) a contributor says

that's a very good one to know.

I understand that conveys the appreciation for getting to know a new use/meaning.

However, in that context I could have said

that's good to know.

I guess both are idiomatic.

I just want to know whether the latter shows less appreciation/respect. Could someone please give a hint? Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


Let's consider the situations below: We do know that "one" is a pronoun, but what does it refer to in the first sentences? according to the post you linked I guess it refers to a point, a trick, use or something along those lines. Let's rewrite the sentences without one now:

that's a very good point to know. (similarly - that's a good trick to know)

now which of the sentences you mentioned sounds "More appreciative" (to put it in your words)

that's very a good point/one to know

here, one refers to point or use. and "that" refers to that explanation which was given in the article you mentioned. Therefore, this means: "the explanation in the article is a good explanation" or alternatively, "the point in the article is a good point" as you can see for yourself it reads awkwardly since we're repeating the same words twice. hence the reason why we use pronouns instead of repeating the word!


that's good to know

here though, "that" refers to the explanation or point that was mentioned in the article you linked, this essentially means, "the explanation was good"

so as you can see there is virtually little difference in meaning or strength between the two.

in other words, if you elide "very" from the first one, sentence 1 and 2 essentially convey the same level of "appreciation", meaning the element that makes sentence 1 sound more "appreciative" is "very", and it has nothing to do with "one", a measly pronoun!

  • Thank you. Here is some kind of supplement, the pronoun "one" refers to the use/meaning of "I didn't ... for a long time", which is exactly the topic of that post
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 23, 2020 at 7:40
  • thanks I'll edit accordingly
    – Fermichem
    Mar 23, 2020 at 7:47
  • You do not give the citation to the dictionary or quote it. In any case, the dictionary is wrong if it asserts that "That's a good one" is restricted in use to ironic expressions of doubt or appreciation of jokes. Here is a counter-example. "Should I delete this program from the system?" "No, that is a good one." It is true that "That's a good one" is a stock phrase, but it is so only in certain social circumstances. Consequently, your correct example about the software fix explained correctly. Please edit. Mar 23, 2020 at 12:54
  • Thanks @jeff I've been meaning to edit the answer myself.
    – Fermichem
    Mar 23, 2020 at 13:08
  • I edited the answer accordingly, references were added for the second part of the answer. (plus I mentioned it as a side note, not as the answer itself)
    – Fermichem
    Mar 23, 2020 at 13:18

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