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Thread: One or it?

  1. #1
    hanky is offline Key Member
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    Default One or it?

    Good day,
    Could you tell me which sentence below sounds better?
    1/ For example, let us assume that one would be able to increase the charge of electrons ...
    2/ For example, let us assume that it would be able to increase the charge of electrons ...
    I go with the first one.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    aziz abd's Avatar
    aziz abd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: One or it?

    Quote Originally Posted by hanky View Post
    Good day,
    Could you tell me which sentence below sounds better?
    1/ For example, let us assume that one would be able to increase the charge of electrons ...
    2/ For example, let us assume that it would be able to increase the charge of electrons ...
    I go with the first one.
    Thanks.
    Both may be correct depending on who (one) or what (it) is carrying the experiment.
    - If you refer to some researcher doing the experiment, then (one) is correct.
    - If you mean that some changes have been made in the data, then (this change:it) is correct.

  3. #3
    tedtmc is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: One or it?

    Quote Originally Posted by hanky View Post
    Good day,
    Could you tell me which sentence below sounds better?
    1/ For example, let us assume that one would be able to increase the charge of electrons ...
    2/ For example, let us assume that it would be able to increase the charge of electrons ... (what is 'it' anyway?)
    I go with the first one.
    Thanks.
    It's awkward to keep using 'one'.
    Let us assume that the charge of the electrons can be increased.

    not a teacher

  4. #4
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: One or it?

    Quote Originally Posted by hanky View Post
    Good day,
    Could you tell me which sentence below sounds better?
    1/ For example, let us assume that one would be able to increase the charge of electrons ...
    2/ For example, let us assume that it would be able to increase the charge of electrons ...
    I go with the first one.
    Thanks.
    Both can be correct.

    "one" can refer to a person (or a group of people) or to one way/technique/attempt/etc.

    "it" can refer to all the above except for people.

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: One or it?

    Quote Originally Posted by hanky View Post
    Good day,
    Could you tell me which sentence below sounds better?
    1/ For example, let us assume that one would be able to increase the charge of electrons ...
    2/ For example, let us assume that it would be able to increase the charge of electrons ...
    I go with the first one.
    Thanks.
    2. is not good.
    Let us assume that it would be possible to increase the charge of electrons ...
    "It is able" doesn't mean "it is possible". With your sentence 2, you'd have to ask, "Is what able to increase the charge of electrons?"

  6. #6
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: One or it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    2. is not good. I don't agree.
    With your sentence 2, you'd have to ask, "Is what able to increase the charge of electrons?" "it" is a technique, method, machine, etc.
    2006

  7. #7
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: One or it?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    2. is not good. I don't agree.
    With your sentence 2, you'd have to ask, "Is what able to increase the charge of electrons?" "it" is a technique, method, machine, etc.
    That's true, you can postulate a scenario in which 2. is good.

    But the OP presented the two sentences and asked which was better - the implication being that the meanings were similar. I meant that 2. is not good if you are taking "it" to be the subject of an impersonal verb, as in "It is possible".

    Certainly you are right if "it" has a concrete referent, and this does make them both correct.

  8. #8
    hanky is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: One or it?

    Hi,
    thank you all for your kind help. I have changed the second sentence a little bit as suggested.

    1/ For example, let us assume that one would be able to increase the charge of electrons ...
    2/ For example, let us assume that it would be possible to increase the charge of electrons ...

    Now, which sentence sounds better?

    PS: The fact is that the charge of an electron cannot be changed so we are aware that the two sentences describe a thought experiment. "One" in the first sentence refers to the person who's doing this thought experiment. "It" in the second sentence, as I understood, play the same role as "It" in "It's know that ..." (quasi subject?).

  9. #9
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: One or it?

    Quote Originally Posted by hanky View Post
    Hi,
    thank you all for your kind help. I have changed the second sentence a little bit as suggested.

    1/ For example, let us assume that one would be able to increase the charge of electrons ...
    2/ For example, let us assume that it would be possible to increase the charge of electrons ...

    Now, which sentence sounds better?

    PS: The fact is that the charge of an electron cannot be changed so we are aware that the two sentences describe a thought experiment. "One" in the first sentence refers to the person who's doing this thought experiment. "It" in the second sentence, as I understood, play the same role as "It" in "It's know that ..." (quasi subject?).
    Exactly.
    But if you're going to make an assumption, you might be able to assume that "it is possible" rather than "it would be possible".
    This would be my preference:
    2/ For example, let us assume that it is possible to increase the charge of electrons ...

  10. #10
    tedtmc is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: One or it?

    For example, let us assume that it is possible to increase the charge of electrons ...
    This is the same as

    let us assume that the charge of electrons can be increased
    as I suggested.

    I thought in science, you are only concerned with whether something can or cannot be done. Why bother with who or what (it) is going to do it?

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