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‎I have questions about "one".

Is the following sentences grammatically correct?

He has three brown rabbits and I have two white ones.

He has three brown rabbits and I have two white.

2 Answers 2

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He has three brown rabbits and I have two white.

To complement @James K's fine answer, there is a way to say "white" without repeating the noun "rabbits" or the pronoun "ones" and that's by using a "that" clause.

  1. He has three brown rabbits and I have two white ones.
  1. He has three brown rabbits and I have two [rabbits] that are white.

The first option is still preferable if only because it's slightly shorter.

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  • "you like the red shirts but I like the blue" - is not the sentence correct? May 19, 2021 at 23:42
  • The following sentences are in a dictionary as grammatically correct sentences. "Your right hand is clean, and so is your left." "They buy Japanese rather than foreign cars." The explanation about them is as follows: when there are two contrasting adjectives, "one(s)" can be omitted. What do you think about this?
    – Aya
    May 24, 2021 at 6:24
  • @Aya Ooh those are good. I think those examples you cited work very well. They are perfect and the added explanation holds up too. Especially the one (!) using the right hand and the left. I'd add those examples in your question along with name of the source. It will make the question more interesting as well.
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 24, 2021 at 8:37
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The version with "ones" is much better. You may sometimes hear something like your example two. That would be more likely with words that can function as both nouns and adjectives. In that case you would probably use the plural form.

For example "a grey" can mean "a horse with white hair". So you could well say

I have three brown horses and he has two greys.

Because the word "grey" has a particular meaning as a noun.

But there is no word "white" that means "a white rabbit" in common use. So your in your example you would say

... two white ones.

The word "ones" in this example is a noun (or a pronoun) and not a numeral.

In some cases the "ones" can be omitted, it is more likely with two contrasting adjectives: "Your right hand is clean, and so is your left."

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  • But it would make perfect sense if the sentence was "He has red rabbits but I have white." May 19, 2021 at 12:11
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    Isn't adjectives correct, in stead of verbs, in "words that can function as both nouns and verbs"?
    – Aya
    May 24, 2021 at 6:23
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    The following sentences are in a dictionary as grammatically correct sentences. "Your right hand is clean, and so is your left." "They buy Japanese rather than foreign cars." The explanation about them is as follows: when there are two contrasting adjectives, "one(s)" can be omitted. What do you think about this?
    – Aya
    May 24, 2021 at 6:24
  • I think that is a good example, and a clear explanation.
    – James K
    May 24, 2021 at 19:50

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