This is from a native speaker's training video on classroom management:

"How can you deal with one particular student who is determined not to listen?"

The expression "one particular student" made me curious about its structure.

I wonder if it is really necessary to say "...ONE PARTICULAR student...", whereas simply "...a student who..." would suffice, because it is followed by a relative clause ("...who is determined not to listen"), so there is no chance that "a student" would be too generic.

Similarly I also wonder whether we need to use "ONE PARTICULAR", because it seems that all of the following would work, as it is followed by a relative clause. So, I think that all of the following would mean the same and will be quite clear:

1- "....a student who ....."

2- "....one student who ...."

3- ".....a particular student who ....."

4- ".....one particular student who....."

So, do we need to use "....a particular student who ..." whereas simply "...a student who ...." would mean the same?

1 Answer 1


It's not really necessary to say "one particular". The use here is to emphasise, and to give focus and importance to the fact that it is always the same one student in each lesson.

Saying "a student" would have much the same meaning, but the longer phrase allows for stress to be given to the adjective. It is a rhetorical choice by the speaker.

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