What's the meaning of "with his loved ones"? 'Ones' refers to the existence or people? The sentence is from IELTS 15 T1P3.

The full example sentence:

Explorer and travel writer Peter Fleming talks of the moment when the explorer returns to the existence he has left behind with his loved ones.

  • "Loved ones" basically means members of the immediate family, though it can be expanded to include close friends.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 29, 2021 at 14:52
  • As has already been pointed out, the meaning of the phrase itself is unproblematic, but the sentence, considered in isolation, is syntactically ambiguous: it could (arguably) be taken to mean that the explorer returned with his loved ones, or (more likely) that he returned to resume the existence with his loved ones.
    – jsw29
    Jan 29, 2021 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


"One" refers to an individual person. "Ones" is simply the plural, so it means people. For example, "my family are the ones who love me".

"Loved ones" generally refers to one's family, or those closest to us. It tends to be used (although not exclusively) when little is known about a person's family life to avoid presumption. For example, saying "I'm sure you are looking forward to being reunited with your loved ones" does not presume that a person has a wife, or a husband, or children - just that they have others with whom they have a close bond to return to.

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