I'd like to know if it is possible for the pronoun 'one' to be used without any specifier or article as in the following sentence:

*"Why do you like Chinese food?"

"How about ( ) Australian one?"*

In the second sentence, "one" substitutes its antecedent "food".

I made an assumption that if "food" is an uncountable noun then "one" does not need an article in this sentence .

Is my assumption right? Is the pronoun one always countable? Or it becomes uncountable when its antecedent is uncountable?

  • 7
    Food being an uncountable noun, it can't take one, which is strictly for singular count nouns. So the article is irrelevant. The correct sentence is How about Australian (food)? With a mass noun, you can just delete it, but with a count noun you have to instantiate it. – John Lawler Aug 4 '16 at 2:26
  • Of Chinese food and Australian food I only like the first (one). Even here, one apparently does not stand for the mass noun food but for the first option mentioned in the sentence. Is this correct, @JohnLawler. – Alan Carmack Aug 4 '16 at 23:51

One doesn't take an article if:

  • it's a determiner itself. "I took one look at it and left."
  • it refers to a person and is being used in a purely abstract sense. "One does not learn English in a day."

Otherwise it needs "the" in front of it. You'll never say "a one" unless one refers to the numeral 1.


Or, "How about the Australian food ?" could be an option.

  • 2
    No, that would sound extremely awkward. The definite article should not be there. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 4 '16 at 6:11
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