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One has to work hard to realise one's goal.
In BrE, "one's" should be used. What is the pronoun in AmE? If I am not wrong, it is 'his'.
Be careful. In British English the pronoun ‘one’ can be used to refer to the speaker, ‘I’ or to the general pronoun ‘you’ meaning ‘people in general’. BUT ‘one’ is antiquated, and has a lot of class connotations. If you say ‘One has to work hard to realise one's goal.
you are either expressing membership to the upper classes, pretension, or referring to that context.
If you were to stop someone on the street and say that, they would laugh. To be honest unless you are a member of the upper classes, and addressing the upper classes, the only person allowed to use ‘one’ as a personal pronoun is the Queen.
You have to work hard to realise your goals.
People have to work hard for their goals.
In British English ‘achieve your goals’.
Ok. So the Queen can say ‘One must work hard to achieve ones goals’ (no apostrophes in possessives). But in real British English ‘You have to work hard to achieve your goals./ People have to work hard to achieve their goals.’
Hope that helps,
Please do not use one in conversation, unless you are being sarcastic/ironic/the Queen etc.
I'm rather tired of being told I don't speak real Br English, and I resent the advice not to use 'one' in conversation. I agree that the only person allowed to use ‘one’ as a personal pronoun is the Queen; she means "I". The way other people use it (and they do ) is as an impersonal third person pronoun - rather like the German man or the French on.
The main difference I've noticed between Br and Am English is that in Br English there is a possessive:
Br One should do ones best.
Am One should do his best.
But seriously, 'one' is still respectable among the educated classes in Australia, even though not everyone uses it. It's not necessarily a sign of terminal pomposity.
How long before the AmE version becomes: 'One should do their best'?
I use 'one' or 'ones' in certain circumstances, I come from a working class family who also used it.
Have you ever wondered whether any Americans get tired of reading fairy tales about American English, as related by one of our British cousins?
While I would certainly expect the "you/your" version of that sentence to be the most commonly used one on this side of the pond, the "one/one's" version would by no means be unheard of. One difference I see here in this thread, however, is that our "American" version of "one's" (possessive) is written with an apostrophe, but your version is not. Or was that a typo?
Last edited by Philly; 15-Jul-2009 at 04:09.
The indefinite "one" is another source of trouble and is frequently the cause of disagreeable scenes. Such a sentence as "One loves one's friends" is considered by some persons to be stilted and over-formalized, and such persons insist that "One loves his friends" is permissible. It is not permissible, however, because "one" is indefinite and "his" is definite and the combination is rhetorically impossible. This is known as hendiadys and was a common thing in Latin. Rare examples of it still exist and are extremely valuable as antiques, although it is usually unsafe to sit or lie down on one.
Ladies' and Gentlemen's Guide to Modern English Usage
One hopes this helps!
The typo/not question is something I'm not sure about - whether to follow the analogy of hers, its, ours, yours and theirs. It doesn't much bother me either way, and I adjust my usage according to the readership. Another writer had just written 'no apostrophe in possessives', and I didn't want to ruffle their feathers. Sorry if I ruffled yours.