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What's difference in meaning and usage of 'such a/an + noun' and 'One such + noun'?. For example:-

  1. I have never seen such an example of government turning its back on illegal activity.”

  2. Never before has food security been such a focus of global attention.

  3. One such study published recently in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that those who slept fewer than seven hours a night on average had an 86 percent greater chance of developing depression

  4. An upcoming European Court of Justice decision will settle one such case, which involves the European Commission arguing that Apple Inc. owes Ireland 13 billion euros and Apple and Ireland agreeing that no tax is owed.

3 Answers 3

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There's two different meanings of "such" used here, as described in Merriam-Webster:

such adjective
...
2 : of the character, quality, or extent previously indicated or implied
in the past few years many such women have shifted to full-time jobs

3 : of so extreme a degree or quality
never heard such a hubbub

The structure [ "such" + noun phrase ] can have meaning 2 or 3, depending on the context. But the structure [ "one such" + noun phrase ] can only have meaning 2, no matter the context.

In your first two sample sentences, "such" has meaning 3. In your other two sentences, "such" has meaning 2.

In your sample sentences 3 and 4, earlier in the context, a particular type of example/case was described, and the word "such" is referring back to that type, rather than repeating it. Here's a simple example where you can see the previous context:

Alice: We've got lots of customers who are angry about yesterday's announcement.
Bob: Yes, I have one such customer on the phone right now.

In this context, "such" means "angry about yesterday's announcement".

And to demonstrate that the structure without "one" can have both meanings, I'll use it in your sample sentences 3 and 4:

3a. Such a study published recently in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that...
4a. An upcoming European Court of Justice decision will settle such a case...

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One such study/case means 'a study/case of the kind that has just been described'.

In constructions like I have never seen such a... or There has never been such a..., the situation is an extreme example of its kind. For instance, food security is said to be even more a focus of attention than it has ever been before.

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  • the question was about one such x versus such an x.
    – Lambie
    Nov 12, 2023 at 17:56
  • @Lambie - That's what I thought I was explaining. Gotube has explained it better. Nov 13, 2023 at 9:00
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one such study: = one or a study of the same class, type or sort

Merriam Webster

: of the same class, type, or sort other such clinics throughout the state

such an example:

means: an example of this type or sort

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