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So yesterday our class had an English test. In the exam paper, there's a multiple-choice question, which basically gives you a passage with some words left blank and asks you to choose words from the options to fill in.

The question I want to ask: Which options seem more familiar (correct) to you? Why would you choose that?


The passage (edited out the useless parts) goes like this:

One day, a student asked his teacher, "What is greed?" The teacher didn't answer his question directly but asked the student to walk through the chocolate factory next to their school and pick out the biggest chocolate bar he could find. But there was a rule: as he passed through the factory, he could not turn back.

The student went to the chocolate factory. As he walked, he saw a large chocolate bar. He liked it but thought he might be able to find a bigger one if he kept going. He kept walking and saw another chocolate bar. This one was bigger. But again, he thought he could find an even bigger one if he kept going. He nearly got to the end of the factory, but none of the bars that he saw were as large as the earlier ____. He started to regret his decision to keep going. Finally, he gave up.

The choices for the blank are:

  • "one"
  • "ones"
  • "it"
  • "them"

Certainly, the latter two are wrong; but for the rest two, it's confusing.

I chose "one" during the exam, however, our teacher said that it should be "ones". It seems that both of the choices are correct; whether it's based on meanings, or by grammar checkers (I used Grammarly's free version and found no errors).

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2 Answers 2

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But again, he thought he could find an even bigger one if he kept going. He nearly got to the end of the factory, but none of the bars that he saw were as large as the earlier ____.

Ones. He saw two bars earlier.

Why? Because earlier he saw more than one.

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I'm afraid your teacher is wrong. The sentence reads 'He thought he could find an even bigger...' 'An' is singular, so the last word must be 'one'.

(PS The story doesn't make sense, because if the student had been instructed to find the largest chocolate bar, he wasn't being greedy!)

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  • I'm sorry but... I accidentally put a wrong question (the blank's position is wrong)... Could you please review the question and answer it again? Dec 3, 2021 at 16:23
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    See Lambie's answer. Dec 3, 2021 at 17:17
  • Hey Kate. Did you happen to see that question yesterday where the OP mentioned you? The question was subsequently deleted.
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2021 at 15:16
  • @Lambie - I don't remember it. I hope the mention was favourable! Dec 4, 2021 at 19:45
  • @KateBunting The person claimed to be discussing "it" with you and you quite rightly told them to basically bu***** off. :) They tried with me, also.
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2021 at 19:51

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